March 21 (UPI) -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales will travel to Moscow in July in part to seek closer cooperation between Gazprom and his country's state owned natural gas industry, the nation's top revenue earner.
Bolivia's Foreign Minister Diego Pary said Bolivia is working on agreements for "cooperation with Gazprom and investment into the Center for Nuclear Research" ahead of Morales' visit in July, Tass reported Wednesday.
Morales, who received the invitation to visit in February, last traveled to Moscow in July for an official visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Bolivia's Morales re-nationalized the country's hydrocarbon industry in 2006, at a time when the country had one of the region's biggest gas resources.
The nationalization came just after Morales won the Bolivian presidency at a time of political turbulence, including deadly protests in 2003 over plans by former President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada to export the gas.
Morales, helped by greater flows after nationalization led to renewed contracts that brought its natural gas pricing to international market levels, has in recent years invested to add value to the gas in projects such as chemical fertilizers.
Morales said in January that Bolivia is exporting liquid petroleum gas -- or LPG, normally used as cooking gas -- in containers to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Peru.
Before the nationalization, Bolivia only exported natural gas or methane, but had to import LPG in canisters, while prices paid for the methane were very low.
Bolivia has about 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas of reserves. The country's economy, unlike some of its neighbors, has expanded in recent years with increased revenues fueled by higher energy prices.
Gazprom, majority owned by the government of Russia, is involved in extraction, production, transportation and sale of natural gas.
Gazprom is the largest gas supplier to Europe and Turkey. It also has a 30-year contract to supply China, with gas to be shipped as soon as the Power of Siberia pipeline under construction is completed later this year.
Bolivia is politically aligned in Latin America with Cuba and Venezuela.
Earlier this month Venezuela's government said it wanted to move its state oil PDVSA's European offices from Lisbon to Moscow in part to work closer with Russian state owned hydrocarbon companies.