Bolivia revealed on Wednesday that its natural gas reserves, which are a major source of state income, are about to run out, due to a lack of investment in exploration for new fields.
The country has been suffering from lower production since 2014, Armin Dorgathen, head of the state oil company YPFB, told reporters, adding, “There weren’t many exploration projects”.
The Bolivian President Luis Arce had also warned Tuesday that production would fall to the bottom.
“We’ve lost a lot of gas reserves,” the president said during an event in the city of Oruro, noting that the reserves weren’t renewed, and therefore the country doesn’t have the ability to produce more.
The latest available figures show Bolivia’s natural gas reserves at 8.95 trillion cubic feet.
Production has fallen from 59 million cubic meters per day in 2014 to 37 million today, according to Armin Dorgathen.
Bolivia exports its natural gas to Argentina and Brazil, in addition to supplying its domestic market.
According to the Bolivian Independent Institute for Foreign Trade, natural gas sales generated about $2.97 billion in 2022, more than the country’s mining and agricultural sectors.
Armin Dorgathen said that about $669 million will be invested in exploration this year.
During the presidency of Evo Morales, Bolivia in 2006 nationalized its gas reserves, which were under the control of Spanish, British, Brazilian and Argentine companies.