Bolivia to open 8 national parks to oil exploration


Eight of the 22 national parks in Bolivia will be opened for oil exploration, officials said.

"We're talking about eight parks, but it's not a new thing because there's been exploration in prior years," Deputy Environment Minister Gonzalo Rodriguez told Erbol radio.

Oil exploration will begin next year at the Iñau, Carrasco, Amboro Espejos, Aguarague and Tariquia, Pilon Lajas, Tipnis and Madidi national parks, affecting areas across the country, Erbol reported.

The Bolivian Confederation of Indigenous Peoples, or CIDOB, opposes oil exploration in national parks and the Ombudsman's Office said it planned a legal challenge to the executive order opening up the natural areas to the energy industry.

The government, meanwhile, said Thursday that a field containing 28 million barrels of petroleum was found in eastern Bolivia, marking the first oil find in the Andean nation in 23 years and allowing the country to triple its liquid hydrocarbon reserves.

The discovery was made by YPFB Andina, in which the Bolivian state has a 51 percent stake and Spain's Repsol has a 48.3 percent interest, President Evo Morales said.

Morales, who nationalized the oil industry in 2006, said the field would generate more than $1.7 billion in revenues for Bolivia. EFE