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Monday, August 14, 2006

Bolivia Suspends a Takeover of Oil and Gas

LA PAZ, Bolivia, Aug. 14 (AP) — Bolivia says it has suspended the nationalization of its oil and gas industry pending an overhaul of the state petroleum company, which lacks the funds and operating capacity to take over production from foreign companies.

A statement issued Friday by Bolivia’s hydrocarbons ministry said that “full effect” of nationalization would be temporarily suspended, because of the “lack of economic resources” for the company, known by its initials, Y.P.F.B.

When President Evo Morales nationalized the oil and gas industry on May 1, seizing the assets of international companies that had long controlled most of the country’s considerable oil and gas reserves, he called for the company to be remade within 60 days as “transparent, efficient and socially controlled.”

The state-owned company has asked the Central Bank of Bolivia for $180 million to help assume complete control of the production facilities.

In addition, the ministry announced plans to modernize the company, which was partly privatized in 1997 but nationalized again in 2004.
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