Alexa

Bolivia state oil company president resigns

Bolivia state oil company president resigns

The head of Bolivia's state oil company has resigned following disagreements with the government of President Evo Morales over how to run the company.
Juan Carlos Ortiz, 38, took the helm of Yacimientos Petroleos Fiscales Bolivianos in August and played a key role in renegotiating contracts with foreign energy companies after the nationalization of the petroleum industry.
At a news conference late Friday, Ortiz said he had sent his letter of resignation to Morales, a leftist who has pledged to increase the state's role in the economy.
"I have decided to resign as president of YPFB because I should not and I cannot accept that my name is soiled by sources and people that hide anonymously to start a campaign of attack on my management and my person," said Ortiz.
"I don't have a doubt that in life all of us have a right to different visions," Ortiz said. "I have my own vision ... and what I've done is to defend it when I believe I'm right."
On Saturday, La Razon newspaper cited government sources saying that Ortiz was asked to resign during a meeting Friday at the government palace with Vice President Alvaro Garcia. The government has not commented on the purpose of the meeting.
Local media reported Manuel Morales Olivera, a former YPFB adviser, had been named as a possible replacement, although he does not meet legal requirements that the company president have 10 years executive experience with at least five of it in the oil and gas industry.
Previous YPFB President Jorge Alvarado's resigned last year under allegations of corruption.
Ortiz, a former executive at Brazil's state energy company Petrobras, was expected to help smooth relations with Brazil, Bolivia's largest natural gas customer, over the nationalization decree.
Last week, Morales said Brazil should pay more for the natural gas that his Andean nation supplies South America's biggest economy.
"Bolivia can no longer continue subsidizing natural gas to Brazil," Morales said during a summit of the Mercosur trade bloc.
Brazil buys some 26 million cubic meters (918 million cubic feet) of Bolivian natural gas per day, paying a little more than US$4 (euro3) per million British thermal units. Bolivia wants Brazil to pay about US$5 (euro4).
Bolivia's natural gas reserves are South America's largest after Venezuela's.


Updated : 2020-12-03 19:19 GMT+08:00