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Brazil needs more piped gas imports like a hole in the head

June 16, 2007

Brazilian state-owned energy company Petrobras is putting the Gran Gasoducto del Sur gasline, which aims to transport up to 150 million cu m/d from Venezuela to Argentina, in the freezer indefinitely.

The cold water on Hugo Chavez and PdVSA was pored by Petrobras president Jose Sergio Gabrielli, who broke the news at a recent Gas Summit 2007 (May 21-23) seminar at Sao Paulo. He said that the construction of such a pipeline would take at least “between 25 and 30 years” for it to become operational.

The news shouldn’t come to any surprise considering the challenges of harmonizing regulatory matters in each of the countries (Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay) the future gasline will go through. Brazil is in no mood to increase dependence on exported piped gas after it got its fingers burned in Bolivia.

Gabrielli’s presentation at the Gas Summit 2007 highlighted the most important pipelines that Brazil must build to satisfy 121 million cu m/d demand by 2011. These include the construction of Gasene, Coari-Manaus, seven smaller pipelines and throughput expansion of the Gasbol to supply more gas to southern Brazil.

The cost of such a pipeline expansion, which includes new LNG regas terminals at Pecem and Baia De Guanabara, is seen requiring $6.5 billon in investments through 2011.

Gabrielli said that domestic gas output is seen rising in southwest Brazil in 2008 by 24.5 million cu m/d to 40 million cu m/d thanks to higher output at the offshore Espirito (up 16.7 to 18 million cu m/d), Campos (up 6.3 to 19.5 million cu m/d) and Santos Basins (up 1.5 to 2.5 million cu m/d).

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