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06 May 2003
Bolivia is enjoying a new-found popularity among countries that require natural resources. One of the reasons for this is the recent discovery of several gas reservoirs.
Although most of the exploratory studies of the reservoirs were carried out by the state owned petroleum company YPFB (Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos), their discovery was made possible only through investment in the capitalization process of YPFB's divisions (exploration, refinery and transportation, among others), which occurred between 1993 and 1997.
As a result of that process, the assets of the largest state owned companies were transferred to newly created corporations. Thereafter, 50% of the shares of the new corporations were awarded to the highest bidders of pre-selected companies, through international bidding processes conducted by the government. The bid amounts were not paid directly to the government. Rather, the strategic partners transferred the funds to the new corporations in order to improve and expand their operations. The remaining shares were transferred by the government to two private pension funds for the benefit of all Bolivians who were at least 21 years old as of December 31 1995. Eligible workers of state owned companies were also able to purchase shares in the company as part of their compensation plan.
Although the process proved successful for most of these privatized divisions, some came under scrutiny due to allegations of mismanagement and insider dealing. Given the importance of those companies to the Bolivian economy (and the hydrocarbons industry in particular), and the fact that virtually all Bolivians have an indirect interest in them, various groups lobbied for legislative changes and the creation of new ministries.
The Ministry without Portfolio for Hydrocarbons and Energy was created by virtue of Presidential Decree 26,753 of August 6 2002. The ministry is divided into three vice-ministries, namely:
The ministry’s main functions are to:
For further information on this topic please contact Riccardo Indacochea or Mauricio Costa du Rels at Indacochea & Asociados, Abogados by telephone (+591 3 535 356) or by fax (+591 3 581 200) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
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Ricardo Indacochea San Martin