Protests by Indians Cost Bolivia $350k a Day in Gas Sales

LA PAZ – The protests staged by hundreds of Indians who want to stop construction of a gas plant in eastern Bolivia are costing the Andean nation $350,000 per day, an executive of state-owned oil company YPFB said.

Another $285,000 in costs will accrue for each day that construction is delayed on the plant due to lost production, Mario Salazar, YPFB's national manager of gas liquids plants, said in a statement.

The Guarani Takovo Mora People's Assembly started protesting against YPFB's plant in the eastern province of Santa Cruz on Tuesday.

Construction of the plant, which will separate natural gas liquids, is being undertaken by Argentina's Astra Evangelista S.A., or AESA.

The Indians managed to paralyze construction work on the energy facility, which is to be inaugurated by President Evo Morales in May.

YPFB warned on Tuesday that the protests could threaten gas exports to Brazil and Argentina.

About 300 Guarani Indians are blocking access to the construction site. EFE