Bolivia - Energy and power

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Installed capacity at Bolivian electric power plants rose from 267,000 kW in 1970 to 1.3 million kW in 2001. Net electric power output in 2000 was 3.8 billion kWh, of which 50.1% was hydroelectric, 48.4% was from fossil fuels, and 1.5% was from othere sources. Much of the total was produced by the Canadian-owned Bolivian Power Co., which supplies the cities of La Paz and Oruro. Another large producer is COMIBOL, which operates two plants on its own and also buys power from the government-run National Electricity Co. Bolivia's electricity sector consists of an interconnected system and three main isolated systems. In 1996, the interconnected system accounted for about 90% of national electricity consumption and 77% of installed capacity. Consumption totaled 3.6 billion kWh in 2000.

Bolivia mostly supplies its own crude oil. In 2001 demand was roughly equal to production, which totaled 43,000 barrels per day. Crude oil reserves were estimated at 440.5 million barrels at the beginning of 2002. Refinery capacity was 63,000 barrels per day. Production of natural gas gradually increased from the mid-1980s until the early 1990s. By 1998, natural gas exports accounted for 26% of total exports, and estimates of Bolivia's natural gas reserves keep growing. Despite an official estimate of 680 billion cu m (24 trillion cu ft) in 2002, they are thought to be much larger—possibly the second-largest in South America. Estimated production in 2000 was 3.3 billion cu m (116 billion cu ft).

The first phase of a pipeline project linking Bolivia to São Paulo, Brazil, was completed in February 1999 at a cost of $2.1 billion and went into operation later the same year. Future pipeline plans include a pipeline to northern Chile, and a project to run a pipeline to Asuncion, Paraguay, with a possible extension to Curitiba, Brazil. In February 2002 Bolivia and Brazil signed an agreement pledging further cooperation in the energy sector, including the possibility of a new $5 billion gas pipeline.

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