In the rush to exploit Bolivia's resources, natural gas has been playing a role almost as important as oil.
In the rush to exploit Bolivia's resources, natural gas has been playing a role almost as important as oil. Neighbouring Argentina and Brazil have been competing with each other to buy all the gas supplies Bolivia can export.
Since 1972, a pipeline has been pumping Bolivian gas to Argentina at the rate of 150 million cubic feet a day. Work has been planned this year for an even more expensive pipeline to pump 240 million cubic feet a day to the Brazilian industrial capital, sao Paulo.
One of the largest gas fields found so far is at Colpa, 25 miles (40 kms) northeast of Santa Cruz. but new gas fields are being discovered all the time -- five major ones in the last two years. And the Bolivian state oil company is aiming to spend a further 32 million dollars on exploration during the current two years.