By Carlos A. Quiroga
If dreaming does not cost anything, we can believe that the greatest project of engineering in Bolivian history is just the beginning.
The state oil company YPFB liquids separation plant in the Gran Chaco province was put into commercial operation on Monday by President Evo Morales and applauded by the President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes.
The complex cost $ 700 million, paid for entirely with own resources of the Bolivian State, an investment that just five years ago no private or multilateral Bank dared to finance in the impoverished country.
Bolivia stops exporting «rich» natural gas to Argentina, the second largest buyer of this product after Brazil.
The plant, called «Carlos Villegas» in honor of the President of YPFB that drove it until his death in January, extracts from gas liquids incorporated as ethane and isopentane, essential inputs for the petrochemical industry.
The plant also produces liquefied petroleum gas that already has a buyer: Paraguay. Cartes did not hesitate to recognize that he had found in the Chaco, where both countries fought a war 80 years ago, a solution for much of his country’s energy problems.
Bolivian industrialization is still a dream, which now seems about to become reality.