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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 January 2007, 07:53 GMT
Head of Bolivia gas firm resigns
Worker at Bolivian state oil and gas firm YPFB
Bolivia wants to use its oil and gas profits to cut poverty levels
The head of Bolivia's state energy company has said he is resigning because of differences with the government of President Evo Morales.

Juan Carlos Ortiz is the second head of the company to resign since Mr Morales nationalised Bolivia's gas industry.

The country has the second-largest natural gas reserves in South America after Venezuela.

Mr Ortiz, who was appointed in August 2006, said he had disagreed with the government about the company's future.

Price rise

"I have my own vision and what I've done is defend it when I believe I'm right," Mr Ortiz said in a news conference.

The company's last head - Jorge Alvarado - also resigned, over corruption allegations.

Mr Morales began nationalising Bolivia's energy industry in May 2006 after winning an election campaign pledging to increase state control of natural resources.

Mr Ortiz was believed to have been given the task of smoothing relations with the country's largest customer for natural gas - Brazil.

Mr Morales wanted to increase the cost per cubic metre of natural gas from $4 (2, 3 euros) to $5 (2.5, 3.8 euros).

Last week he said that Bolivia "can no longer continue subsidising natural gas to Brazil".

Bolivia signs oil and gas deals
28 Oct 06 |  Business
Bolivia 'backs Morales reforms'
03 Jul 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Bolivia
03 Jul 06 |  Country profiles

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