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MarketWatch: Shell says still interested in opportunities in Bolivia

Shell says still interested in opportunities in Bolivia
Last Update: 2:41 PM ET May 2, 2006

LONDON (MarketWatch) — Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) is evaluating the effect of a decree nationalizing the Bolivian hydrocarbons industry but is still interested in opportunities in the country, a company spokesman said Tuesday.
The statement contrasts with the stance of other companies, which have said they would refrain from expanding in Bolivia after the adoption of increasingly stringent conditions to operate in the country.
“Shell is currently assessing the implications of this decree,” published Monday, the spokesman for the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major said.
“We also remain interested in pursuing discussions with the government on potential opportunities for Shell to further participate in Bolivia's hydrocarbon sector,” he said.
A Shell spokeswoman said in early April that the company had held talks with Bolivia's state-owned hydrocarbons company, Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos, or YPFB, about possible joint ventures. The spokesman declined Tuesday to directly comment on those talks.
Shell owns 25% in Bolivia Transredes Transporte De Hidrocarburos SA, an oil and gas pipeline company that has over 3,500 miles in total pipeline network.
Shell also owns a 30% stake in a pipeline owned by Gas Transboliviano SA, through which it exports natural gas to Brazil.
The Bolivian nationalization decree gives YPFB a 50%-plus-one-share stake in six key local oil companies. Furthermore, fields that produced more than 100 million cubic meters a day of natural gas in 2005 will be obliged to hand over 82% of production to YPFB.
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