Alert for the national coffers. Fuel imports totaled $2,211 million in 2021 and practically equaled the export of hydrocarbons. Last year, purchases from this segment increased by 140.3%, a historic increase, according to the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE), based on data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
INE figures show that hydrocarbon exports reached US$2,253, which represents a growth of only 12.7% compared to 2020. Official figures show that between both variables there is a difference of only US$42 million. .
INE data -processed by the IBCE- reveal that in 2021 Bolivia imported $1.5 billion in diesel (70.7%) and 620 million in gasoline (29.2%), amounts that represent 22.1% of total admissions.
“Never in the history of the country have we imported so much diesel and gasoline. in value and volume”, said the general manager of the IBCE, Gary Rodríguez, who added that the figure represents up to 20% of the Net International Reserves (RIN).
The former Minister of Hydrocarbons, Álvaro Ríos, warned that if a change in the regulation is not made -in order to attract more investments in hydrocarbons- in a short time Bolivia will become a fuel importing country.
He added that since 2014 the gap between gas exports and purchases exports of liquid fuels, especially diesel and gasoline, was shrinking. He recalled that the margin between the two was up to US$ 4,000 million in favor of foreign sales of Bolivian natural gas to Argentina and Brazil.
“This difference of $46 million was bigger. So, it means that we are importing more and more fuels because we are producing less liquids,” she said.
For the former authority, the country must increase its level of natural gas production, which will lead to higher levels of liquids being extracted through the separating plants.
Like Ríos, hydrocarbons expert Hugo del Granado argued that if there are no structural changes, Bolivia will sooner rather than later become a fuel importing country and that this is a matter of time.
“The only way is to review the Hydrocarbons Law, they have been announcing changes for 12 years, but nothing happens,” he said.
YPFB was consulted on the subject, but did not reply until the end of the edition.
YPFB recently announced the production of the Margarita X10 well, which, according to the state company, will have a production of 3 MMm3/d.
Neverthelessanalysts indicated that production will not be able to stop the increase in imports of fuels due to the growing demand that exists in the country, due to the growth of the vehicle fleet. Added to this is the limited capacity of refineries to produce liquids.
For this year, the Government announced adjustments to the regulations in order to attract more investment from oil companies.
“Right now, market conditions and the oil industry require an adjustment”, said Franklin Molina, Minister of Hydrocarbons in a rendering of accounts.