Bolivia's YPFB strikes transition deal with Petrobras to extend natural gas exports

SAO PAULO, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Bolivian state-owned oil firm YPFB said on Saturday it has reached a deal with Petroleo Brasileiro SA to extend natural gas exports through the Bolivia-Brazil Gas Pipeline commonly known as Gasbol.

The so-called transition deal comes after several meetings between the two companies in Brazil over the last month to negotiate the extension of a natural gas transport service contract signed in 1999 and due to expire on Dec 31, YPFB said in a statement.

Petrobras, as the company is known, did not immediately comment on the matter.

Under the terms of the transition agreement, which is valid from Jan. 1 to Mar. 10, Bolivia will continue to export up to 19.25 million cubic meters per day, as well as additional volumes to gradually meet the provision of 0.04 TCF (trillion cubic feet) that were paid by Petrobras, but not yet withdrawn.

“In the aforementioned transition period, Petrobras will not make new anticipated payments for volumes of natural gas and no fines will be generated against YPFB for deliveries below 19.25 MMmcd,” YPFB added.

Brazil and Bolivia have locked horns for about a decade over their gas dealings. Brazil has sought ways to cut its dependence on purchases of Bolivian gas since Bolivian President Evo Morales seized Petrobras’ gas assets in May 2006. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)