The Spanish firm Tecnicas Reunidas, or TR, has completed 74 percent of the Gran Chaco plant for for the separation of liquids from natural gas in southern Bolivia, the state-owned oil company YPFB said.

"The plant, one of the biggest in Latin America, is 74.25 percent complete. We're going to extract liquids for the internal market and we're going to export liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)," the president of YPFB, Carlos Villegas, said, according to a company communique.

Villegas added that they will also obtain raw material like ethane and propane for the petrochemical complex being built under a government contract by the South Korean firm Samsung in the central region of Cochabamba.

The overall percent completed of the Gran Chaco plant is calculated as an average of the percent completed of engineering works (99.66), of procurement (92.61 percent) and of construction and fitting out the plant (39.93 percent), the note from the state oil company said.

Almost 2,500 people work on building the plant, whose budget is in the area of $600 million and which is located in the southern province of Tarija, which borders on both Argentina and Paraguay.

The plant, scheduled to be finished by next September, will be six times bigger than a similar one that began operations last August in Rio Grande, in the rural area of Santa Cruz province, and will be one of the three biggest in the region in terms of capacity, YPFB says.

Villegas noted that the plant will "ratify" the "export vocation" of Bolivian LPG and will allow this country to achieve sovereignty in gasoline production.

The project will have a processing capacity of 32 million cubic meters per day of natural gas to produce 3,144 metric tons per day of ethane, 2,247 tons of LPG, 1,044 standard barrels per day of isopentane and 1,658 barrels of natural gas.

Some 82 percent of LPG will be go to external markets and the remaining 18 percent to the internal market, YPFB said. EFE