Bolivia is continuing to host its Fourth Summit of Gas Exporting Countries in Santa Cruz. It's the first time the summit is being held in a Latin American country.
Bolivian President Evo Morales opened the summit by saying “we’re here to create strategies to promote and produce natural gas for the world … we should establish gas prices that maintain our sovereignty and and natural resources.” Summit members are discussing a worldwide natural gas price.
"Natural gas is one of the energy resources best suited for the environment. It will be the principal motor for the Bolivian economy for at least the next 100 years," Morales added.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced at the summit that his country is working to certify a natural gas reserve that stretches from the country’s Caribbean coast deep into the Atlantic Ocean by 2019. He said the area could become the world’s fifth-largest natural gas reserve.
Leaders from Russia, Iran, Qatar, Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Bolivia, Venezuela, Libya, Nigeria, Trinidad y Tobago and the United Arab Emirates are attending. Representatives from Holland, Iraq, Oman, Peru, Norway, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan will observe the four-day conference.
State-run natural gas agencies from Bolivia and Russia are also present at the summit to promote the use of natural gas to fuel vehicles and the selling of liquid and compressed natural gas throughout the world.
The two companies agreed to work together to extract and refine natural gas in the Vitacua and Ceiba region of Bolivia until 2040.
Morales and Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak signed at least six bilateral agreements between the two countries on Thursday. The deals are aimed at working together to develop and share technologies for the exploration and extraction of natural gas.
"I’m very happy to sign the memorandums and accords with Russia … to improve the (natural) gas industry. Russia’s presence in Latin America is very important.”
Novak added he’s “especially content that Russia will be able to provide machinery” for the refinery of natural gas to be used in vehicles.
Also present at the La Paz summit are energy companies Petrobras from Brazil, YPF from Argentina, Repsol from Spain, Total from France, Britain’s Shell and the multinational companies Pan American Energy, Tecpetrol and Vintage Petroleum.
Participating countries together control 70 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves, 40 percent of its production and export 60 percent of the world’s liquid natural gas.
Morales told those at the opening ceremony that they must use their resources for wealth redistribution and use the wealth to help the most vulnerable sectors of society.