Last update:
2015-12-29

Bolivian “Gas war” and Pacific LNG, Bolivia

The severely repressed revolt of the population from El Alto in 2003 led to the nationalization of gas resources by Morales' government.


Description:

In 1996, the former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada enacted the Hydrocarbon Industry Law no. 1689, allowing the privatisation of the State-owned company Yacimientos Petroleros Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) and the exploration and exploitation of Bolivian natural resources by foreign firms.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Bolivian “Gas war” and Pacific LNG, Bolivia
Country:Bolivia
State or province:Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro
Location of conflict:Cochabamba, La Paz, El Alto, Oruro
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The export of natural gas began at the Margarita gas field, which produced 700 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

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Level of Investment:4,000,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:08/2003
End of the conflict:05/2006
Company names or state enterprises:Repsol from Spain - The Pacific Lng Consortium was made up of the following companies 37.5%
British Gas from United Kingdom - The Pacific Lng Consortium was made up of the following companies 37.5%
Pan-American Energy from Argentina - The Pacific Lng Consortium was made up of the following companies 25% a subsidiary of BP
Union Texas
British Petroleum (BP) from United Kingdom
Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) from Bolivia
Relevant government actors:YPFB Yacimientos Petroleros Fiscales Bolivianos, Movimiento al Socialismo MAS
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:FEDECOR - Bolivia, A Sud - Italy, Movimento Cocalero - Bolivia, National Coordination for the Defence of Gas - Bolivia, CSUTCB - Bolivia, Aymara Indigenous Farmers Organisation - Bolivia, Potos, Oruro and Huanani Miners-Bolivia, FOBOMADE - Bolivia, Central Obrera Boliviana (COB)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Trade unions
It was a popular uprising
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Strikes
Threats to use arms
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Boycotts of companies-products
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths, Other Health impacts
Potential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Other Health impactsBy the end of the fighting, 84 people were killed, 400 were wounded and as many tortured
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Institutional changes
New legislation
Violent targeting of activists
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:After the two intense weeks of riots, especially in El Alto, the so-called "Agenda de Octubre" was drafted; it included major demands by the people:
- a new constituent assembly
- nationalization of natural resources (starting from hydrocarbons)
- empowering the people and their democratic tools
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The Bolivian "Gas War" led to the fall of liberal de Lozada's government and path the way to the indigenous movement under Evo Morales. However, the conflict cause the death of more than 60 people.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Supreme Decree no. 28071: Nationalisation of Hydrocarbons

The Hydrocarbon Industry Law no. 1689

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Monopolios petroleros en Bolivia. Taia Aillon. 2004

La recolonizacion. Repsol en América Latina: invasion y resistencias. Marc Gavalda. 2003

Privatizacion de la industria petrolera en Bolivia. Trayectoria y efectos tributarios. Carlos Villegas Quiroga. 2004

Perfiles de la protesta - Politica y movimientos sociales en Bolivia. John Crabtree. 2005

ARUSKIPASIPXAASATAKI: el siglo XX y el Futuro del Pueblo Aymara. Waskar Ari Chachaki. 2001

Microgobiernos Barriales - Levantamiento de la ciudad de El Alto. Pablo Mamani. 2005

Disperdere il potere. Raul Zibechi. 2007

Mal de altura, Viaje a la Bolivia insurgente. Colectivo Situaciones 2005.

La guerra por el agua y por la vida. Ana Esther Cecea. 2004

Dignidad y juegos de poder en el tropico de Cochabamba. CASDEL.2002.

Repsol, quien es? que hace en Bolivia?. CEDIB. 2006

Juicio de responsabilidades a Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada y sus colaboradores. Carovana Internazionali in Bolivia. 2005

First year of evo morales presidency. IWGIA. 2007

RENACIONALIZACION: TRAVESIA HACIA LA ERA BOLIVIANA DE LOS HIDROCARBUROS. Roberto Gonzalez.2005

Geopolitica de los recursos naturales y acuerdos comerciales en sudamerica. FOBOMADE. 2005

Viaje a Repsolandia. Pozo a pozo por la Patagonia y Bolivia. Marc Gavalda. 2006

Impactos ambientales, sociales y culturales de REPSOL YPF enterritorio indigenas de Bolivia. Monitoreo indigena independiente del pueblo guaranì - APG-Itika Guasu, 2005.

Nacionalizacion de los hidrocarburos en Bolivia. La lucha de un pueblo por sus recursos narturales. M. Gandarillas, M. Tahbub y G. Rodrguez. 2008
[click to view]

El pachakuti ha empezado -Pachakutixa qalltiwa-. Si se pudo, si pueblo no es cojudo. Octubre de 2003 y las primeras acciones del presidente. Varios autores. Esteban Ticona Alejo, com. 2006.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Evo Morales nacionaliza por decreto el petróleo y el gas de Bolivia, M. Azcui, El Pais, 2/05/2006
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Proyectos en gas y petróleo MÁS DE US$12.000 millones invertira Bolivia hasta 2019, D. Ramos, D. Oré, 07/07/2015
[click to view]

"Guerra del Gas", la insurgencia que cambió a Bolivia hace una década, La Razon, R. Burgoa, 16/10/2013
[click to view]

Other documents

Demostration during the "Bolivian gas war" in 2003 boliviabella.com
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl, Joan Martinez Alier & Talia Waldron
Last update29/12/2015
Comments
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