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BOLIVIA: Spanish energy giant Repsol says it respects international law

Agence France Presse
January 10th, 2006

Spanish energy giant Repsol-YPF said that it respects international law, in reaction to accusations that the company claimed to own part of Bolivia's gas reserves.

"Repsol always respects national and international law in all the countries we operate in," said a spokesperson for Repsol, adding that Bolivia had not made a "formal complaint" on the issue.

Lawyer and journalist Andres Soliz, a member of the committee which is preparing for the swearing-in of the new Bolivian government, accused Repsol-YPF of registering reserves from two of the country's most important gas fields, San Alberto and Margarita, as its own property on the New York stock exchange.

Soliz underlined that Bolivia owns its gas reserves.

Bolivia's president-elect, Evo Morales, said on a recent visit to Madrid that he did not consider Repsol-YPF to be one of a number of "bandit" multinational companies that he publicly criticized after his election in December.

Around 20 multinationals control the gas reserves of Latin America's second largest producer after Venezuela.

Morales, a 46-year-old coca grower and Aymara Indian, won the December 18 presidential election and will be inaugurated on January 22.

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