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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Bolivian government to build new biodiesel plant in El Alto


Photo: YPFB

Bolivia’s state-owned oil company Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos announced March 6 that it plans to build a new biodiesel plant in El Alto.





The plant will be capable of producing approximately 22 million gallons per year (mgy) of biodiesel.





YPFB Refinación is in charge of project development.





The new facility is expected to start operations by the end of 2024.





This is the second new state-owned biodiesel project under development in Bolivia. As such, it is referred to as “Biodiesel-2.”





The first one, “Biodiesel-1” announced in September, is located in Santa Cruz and scaled the same size as the new project in El Alto.





The Santa Cruz project is expected to come online this year.





Both projects are expected to cost USD$40 million each.





The projects are part of Bolivia’s larger economic and social development plan for 2021-’25 (Law No. 1407, of Nov. 9, 2021) that, in part, seeks to reduce imports.





The estimated investment for the entire biofuel plant implementation project, which includes building these two biodiesel plants as well as a renewable diesel complex, is USD$387 million with a cumulative production of approximately 170 mgy.





The Biodiesel-2 plant is also being designated as the “Heroes of Senkata” plant in memory of a political conflict occurring at a YPFB gas facility Nov. 19, 2019, in Senkata, El Alto, Bolivia, referred to as the “Senkata massacre.”





“Today we are taking a qualitative leap in El Alto,” said Bolivian President Luis Arce Catacora. “We are laying the foundation stone for this ‘Heroes de Senkata’ Biodiesel and Derivatives Plant in homage to that fighting people. Here in the city of El Alto it gave rise to the October agenda [for the] nationalization of hydrocarbons … We are fulfilling what we had promised in 2020, to industrialize the country, and this is a palpable sample.”





Franklin Molina Ortiz, the minister of hydrocarbons and energies, said that the launch of this project is a recognition of those who offered their lives for the defense of Bolivia’s “natural resources, for democracy and for the nationalist vision that exists in this municipality. This project was directed by instruction of the president to materialize the substitution of imports and advance in a true energy transition, reduce the use of fossil fuels and replace them with environmentally friendly energies.”

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