LIMA (Reuters) - Energy ministers from Peru and Bolivia agreed on Thursday to discuss building a pipeline that would transport natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Bolivia to its neighbor.
The pipeline would provide crucial access to the Pacific Ocean for land-locked Bolivia, running to Peru’s southern port of Ilo.
Bolivia had wanted to build a pipeline through Chile to reach the ocean and expand its gas exports, but the International Court of Justice ruled against Bolivia’s demand that Chile negotiate granting it sovereign access to the sea in October.
Bolivia is South America’s top natural gas exporter, but it is a net importer of oil, as is neighboring Peru.
Bolivia told Peru it would also like to build an oil pipeline to Peru and import gasoline, diesel and crude through Ilo.
Peru did not mention that an oil pipeline was under consideration.
“We’re interested in investing in Peru’s Ilo port. We’re working to build a large storage plant for imports of gasoline, diesel and crude,” Bolivian Energy and Mines Minister Luis Alberto Sanchez said in a statement following his meeting with counterpart Francisco Ismodes.
Talks between Peru and Bolivia also include the creation of a joint venture between Bolivian state energy company YPFB and its Peruvian counterpart, Petroperu, to commercialize LNG in border regions, Bolivia said.
Neither country gave a timeframe for implementing the projects discussed or the cost, but they said they would meet again in February.
Reporting By Marco Aquino; Additional reporting by Daniel Ramos in La Paz; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
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