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Bolivia sees 51% ownership of Transredes by end-year

September 21, 2007

SAEM – Bolivia’s state-owned energy company YPFB seeks to raise its ownership in gas transporter Transredes to 51% from 34% now, according to a Bolivian government spokesperson. Talks with Ashmore Energy International (AEI) over getting a majority stake in the gas transporter are seen ending by end-year.

The spokesperson said that YPFB was aiming to get as well 51% ownership of BP-led Chaco and Repsol YPF-owned Andina, two energy companies created in the 1990s when YPFB was spun off.

The Bolivian government announced in May 1, 2006 the nationalization of the country’s hydrocarbons sector. As a result, the government had threatened to seek 100% ownership of companies like Transredes, Chaco and Andina.

Talks with AEI, the biggest shareholder of Transredes, will center on that company’s 25% interest acquired from Shell in end-May. Prior to the purchase, AEI, which is controlled by funds manged by UK’s Ashmore Investment Management (AIM), had a 25% interest of Transredes.

If YPFB raises its interest of Transredes to 51%, it would mean that the state-owned energy group would have to get 17% of AEI’s 25% acquisition of Shell. This would leave AEI with 33% of Transredes.

The purchase of all of Shell’s assets permitted AEI to raise its stake to 34% from 17% of GTB, the Bolivian side of the Bolivia-Brazil pipeline, to 8% from 4% of TBG, the Brazilian side of the Bolivia-Brazil line, and to 100% from 50% of the Brazil-Bolivia Cuiabá integrated gas project.

(The article can be reprinted as long as permission is requested from etessieri@latamreport.com and the source is mentioned)

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