Bolivia: government regains control of gas lines

Bolivia’s government said Sept. 17 it had recovered full control of the country’s network of natural gas pipelines after 17 days of anti-government protests. Protesters who occupied the Vuelta Grande natural gas processing plant and a pipeline control station in the southern Chaco region of Chuquisaca department surrendered the facilities early Wednesday after the government signed a deal to start talks with opposition leaders. “Today, the pipeline to Argentina has been reopened and full pumping levels will be reached starting on Friday,” an Energy Ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that export levels to Argentina are currently between 1.2 million and 1.3 million cubic meters per day, and will rise to at least 2 million cubic meters by the weekend. Gas exports to Brazil, Bolivia’s top natural gas buyer, were halved for several hours last week after protesters sabotaged the pipeline. (Reuters, La Gaceta, Argentina, Sept. 17)

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