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Bloomberg: Bolivia Resumes Gas Supply to Argentina After Clashes (Update1)

By Matthew Craze and Dan Helft

April 18 (Bloomberg) — Bolivia resumed natural gas transmissions to Argentina after soldiers suppressing a riot near a pipeline partly owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc killed a protester, the pipeline’s operating company said.

Supply was disrupted yesterday when demonstrators stormed control stations at a compression plant that processes 90 percent of the gas Bolivia ships Argentina about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the border, the Hydrocarbons Chamber said. Operations have returned to normal, said Peresita Arandia, a spokeswoman for pipeline company Transredes SA.

“The military is protecting the plant to ensure supplies now,” said Ronald Fessy, a spokesman for the Santa Cruz, Bolivia-based chamber. “Tension may arise again as protesters look to react in some way” to the death, he said.

The demonstrators are demanding that local governments get a bigger share of royalties from the San Antonio and San Alberto gas fields served by the plant, which account about 70 percent of Bolivia’s natural gas production. Both are owned by Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Protesters around the compression plant threw rocks and burning tires at the riot police, who used teargas to prevent the crowd from seizing the facility, Bolivian President Evo Morales told reporters today.

“This is the first issue we will discuss in this morning’s cabinet meeting,” Morales said.

Shell and Ashmore Energy International Ltd. own 25 percent of TR Holdings, which holds 50 percent of Santa Cruz, Bolivia- based Transredes, which transports gas from Bolivia to neighboring Argentina and Brazil. Bolivia’s state oil company YPF Bolivianos holds a further 34 percent of the company.

Yesterday’s attack represents a “high level of threat against human life,” Transredes said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Craze in Buenos Aires at [email protected] To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Helft in Buenos Aires at [email protected]
Last Updated: April 18, 2007 14:06 EDT

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