U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Country Analysis Note
- Hydrocarbons, primarily natural gas, are an important element of Bolivia’s economy and account for 34% of total public sector revenue. Natural gas exports account for 49% of total export revenue in 2012, according to the International Monetary Fund.
- Traditional biomass is an important fuel for heating and cooking, especially for the 2.2 million Bolivians who lack access to electricity, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest 2011 estimates. The electrification rate of 77.5% masks enormous disparities for urban and rural populations: more than 98% of city dwellers have access to electricity, compared to just 38% of those living in rural areas. For those who have access to electricity, natural gas-fired plants and hydropower are the dominant sources of Bolivia’s electricity supply.
- According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Bolivia had 210 million barrels of proved crude oil reserves as of January 2014, which ranks among the smallest reserve-holders in the world. Proved reserves of crude oil remained unchanged from the previous year and dropped significantly from 465 million barrels in 2011. Bolivia’s proved reserves of natural gas have also fallen from 26.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2011 to the most recent estimate of 9.9 Tcf. Decreased investments in exploration and production because of political instability and regulatory uncertainty contributed to the decline.
- In 2013, Bolivia’s petroleum and other liquids production were an estimated 65,000 barrels per day (b/d), while consumption was nearly 63,000 b/d. The country has two oil refineries with a total crude oil distillation capacity of about 41,000 b/d.
- Bolivia is a net importer of petroleum and other liquids. Bolivia exported over 8,000 b/d of crude oil in 2013, with the majority sent to Argentina, the Netherlands, and the United States. At the same time, Bolivia imported over 20,000 b/d of petroleum products, mostly from Chile, Argentina, and the United States.
- Until 2013, the United States had been a net importer of small amounts of petroleum and other liquids from Bolivia. For the first time, the United States exported petroleum products to Bolivia, amounting to 2,000 b/d.
- Bolivia is the third-largest dry natural gas producer in mainland South America, trailing only Venezuela and Argentina. Dry natural gas production in Bolivia was 644 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2012, an increase of 24% from five years ago, while the country consumed just 131 Bcf in the same year.
- Bolivia is a key supplier of natural gas in the region, and its exports are shipped via pipelines to Brazil and Argentina. Bolivia’s natural gas exports were 516 Bcf in 2012, increasing from 470 Bcf in 2011. Brazil and Argentina are demanding greater volumes, and in 2010, Bolivia agreed to increase imports to Argentina to nearly 365 Bcf/y by 2017. However, because of growing domestic demand in the industrial sector and insufficient production growth and a fall in proven natural gas reserves, Bolivia is having difficulty meeting its contractual obligations.
- In an attempt to double the production of natural gas by 2015, state-owned Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) is seeking both new foreign partnerships and new areas for natural gas exploration and production. According to Newsbase (LatAmOil), YPFB aims to negotiate and approve 18 exploration contracts and drill 14 wells over the next five years.
- The Bolivia-Brazil natural gas pipeline (commonly referred to as GASBOL) is owned and operated by Gas TransBoliviano, of which YPFB Transporte, a state-owned Bolivian firm, has a majority stake. The pipeline was completed in 1998 and has a maximum capacity of 1.1 Bcf per day. The YABOG pipeline, which runs from Río Grande, Bolivia, to Salta, Argentina, was completed in 1972 with a capacity of 210 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day. Argentina and Bolivia operate another small cross-border pipeline, known as Juana Azurduy, from the Margarita field in Bolivia to the border town of Madrejones to an Argentinian plant at the Duran field. The pipeline began operations in June 2011 with a capacity of 953 MMcf per day of natural gas.
- The Bolivian government also plans to explore for hydrocarbon resources in national parks and protected natural areas, but consultations with local communities may delay exploration projects.
Analysis Last Updated: June 2014
Overview data for Bolivia+ EXPAND ALL
-- = Not applicable; NA = Not available; E = Estimate value
Sources: EIA. For more detailed data, see International Energy Statistics.
Data last updated: May 30, 2013
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