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SOUTH AMERICAN ENERGY MARKETS DAILY ROUNDUP (April 1, 2009): Enarsa’s participation in Ecuatorian 1,700MW hydropower project put into doubt

April 1, 2009

South America Energy Markets (SAEM) will begin a daily roundup of the top-five stories affecting energy markets in the region with links. The roundup includes all the major web dailies of South America and other websites that write about the region’s energy markets. I aim to publish SAEM Daily Roundup from Monday through Friday by noon London time.

NOTE: The next issue of SAEM Daily Roundup will appear on Monday, April 6.

April 1, 2009

ARGENTINA-ECUADOR/ HYDROPOWER PROJECT

Plans by Argentina’s state-owned energy company Enarsa to take part in the 1,500MW Coca-Codo hydropower project in Ecuador have been put in doubt, reports Quito-based El Comercio. Doubts over Enarsa’s participation in the project has not taken analysts by surprise taking into account the economic slowdown that has undermined Argentine government spending.  The consortium building Coca-Codo comprises of the Ecuatorian state and Celec, formerly Termopichincha, with 70%, and Enarsa (30%). Some analysts claim that Enarsa, which has not produced a single financial result since it was created in 2004, operates at a loss.

BOLIVIA/ENERGY CRISIS

Energy Press states that Bolivia is facing an energy crisis characterized by shrinking gas-export markets and by diesel and gasoline shortages at the pumps.  Carlos Alberto Lopez, a La Paz energy analyst, will soon publish a study where he maintains that between 2005 and 2008 the production of fuels such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and others retreated by 7.4%. “Lower output of energy translates into the need to import close to 40% of the diesel we consume…” said Lopez. Other studies by the former deputy hydrocarbons minister under President Hugo Banzer show that gas output and proved reserves have retreated during the MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) government due to mismanagement and lack of upstream investments by energy majors. Note: Energy Press has published in its latest edition maps and energy facts of Bolivia.

CHILE/ENAP WOES

Chilean state-owned energy company, Enap, which has suffered record losses of $980 million in 2008 that forced its general manager Enrique Davila to step down in December, announced the appointment of David Jana Bitran as the company’s new CFO, reports Radio Polar of Punta Arenas. Hefty losses by Enap were blamed on oil prices, limited gas imports from Argentina and to currency exchange losses. The fall in gas supplies from Argentina cost Enap $100 million and an extra $60 million in logistics costs. The lion’s share ($650 million) of the company’s losses were caused by lower oil prices between August and December. 

URUGUAY/FUEL PRICES

State-owned energy company Ancap announced that plans to increase  energy prices at the pumps, reports Montevideo daily El Pais.  “When the dollar strengthens [against the Uruguayan peso] and uncertainty grows in stock markets, it weighs on raw-material prices,” said Phil Flynn of Alaron Trading.  Even though the dollar has strengthened against the euro, the price of oil has become more expensive for countries such as Uruguay.

ARGENTINA/HISTORY

Former Argentine President Raul Alfonsin (1983-89) passed away Tuesday at the age of 82. He will not only be remembered for being the first civilian head of state to restore democratic rule to the country and try the former military rulers of Argentina (1976-83), but for suffering from one of Argentina’s most turbulent economic preiods and energy crises.  The Radical Civic Union (UCR) president was forced to pass two unpopular decrees that put an end to new trials against the former junta leaders. He was forced to hand power about five months early to his successor Carlos Menem because hyperinflation was spinning out of control. Alfonsi’s government also suffered from chornic energy shortages and blackouts. He was also the first candidate to beat the Peronists in a presidential election.

Here is a vidoclip in Spanish of when Alfonsin was sworn as president of Argentina.

These briefs can be reprinted as long as as the source is cited.

If you have any feedback on today’s articles, or if there are energy industry stories you think should be covered, or need research assistance, please contact etessieri@latamreport.com.

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