Repsol boss threatens legal action against Bolivia

12th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 May 2006, MADRID — The head of the Spanish energy company Repsol has threatened to take Bolivia to court to defend the interests of the company's shareholders.

12 May 2006

MADRID — The head of the Spanish energy company Repsol has threatened to take Bolivia to court to defend the interests of the company's shareholders.

Antonio Brufau said he hopes to reach a "good accord" in Bolivia, but if no such agreement can be achieved he refused to rule out going to court.

At a presentation to analysts, Brufau said that Repsol YPF, which also has Argentine capital, will adapt to the new legal framework in Bolivia after La Paz nationalized the energy sector if it preserves the value of its investments in the country.

However, he said, if an agreement is not possible, the firm's goal must be to defend the interests of its shareholders and the value of its investments in the South American country.

Bolivian president Evo Morales nationalized his country's energy sector on 1 May, ordering the military occupation of oil and gas fields and refineries.

He urged foreign oil companies to sign new operating contracts within 180 days or leave, a measure that directly affects Andina, an Repsol affiliate.

The next day, Repsol warned it would take "all actions within (our) power to protect the assets and preserve the jobs" of its workers in Bolivia.

At a meeting of Latin American and European leaders in Vienna, Morales said there will be no indemnity for the firms affected by the nationalization, adding that "the companies are the main ones who don't respect Bolivian regulations".

Half the Spanish-Argentine firm's investments in Bolivia are in Andina, which in turn controls 25 percent of the 52.3 trillion cubic feet of Bolivia's natural gas reserves.

Bolivia has the second-largest known gas reserves in South America, after Venezuela.

Since Repsol YPF started operating in the country in the mid-1990s, it has invested about

EUR 0.85 billion, has paid taxes totalling EUR 634 m and has made net profits of EUR 193m.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news


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