US$25 million out of US$300 millionSaturday, December 26, 2015
Natural gas debts to Bolivia begin to be paid
After threats of shutting down the supply, Argentina started paying part of its natural gas debts to Bolivia yesterday.
An initial US$25 million out of the US$300 million that the country estimatedly owes made their way to the neighbouring country, according to Bolivian Vice-President Álvaro García Linera.
“Twenty five million were paid but some payments are still pending,” García Linera said according to the DPA news agency.
García Linera added that this was a good start and that talks were open with the Argentine state-owned company Enarsa, which deals with gas imports, to cancel all debts before the new year.
Bolivia sells Argentina 16 million cubic meters of gas per day.
Earlier this week, Bolivia’s Economy Minister Luis Arce warned about taking action if the situation didn’t improve, while state-owned YPFB had also sent Argentina a letter regarding its debts.
The country was two months in arrears and a third month could have opened the door to sanctions.
Arce said that the change of government in Argentina and “other administrative issues” have affected orderly payments.
The contract to buy gas from Bolivia was signed in 2006 and lasts 20 years. In 2014, the country paid Bolivia US$2.2 billion in gas, making Argentina Bolivia’s second-largest energy buyer after Brazil.
In Bolivia’s economy, energy and mineral sales are key, as they represent 64 percent of its income, according to the INE statistics institute.
Herald with Télam