Bolivia - Brazil gas pipe project close to start

Feb 18, 1997 01:00 AM

The Bolivia-Brazil Natural Gas Pipeline construction project, which has been under negotiation off-and-on for more than 20 years finally looks set to begin. The Bolivian government said at the weekend that the first phase of the 1,953-mile, 32-inch pipeline would be completed next year between Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia and Campinas, Brazil.
Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, now reckons it will earn some $ 300 mm a year from the sale of 8 mmcmpd of natural gas to south-eastern Brazil. The flow is expected to double from that level by 2005 with the extension of the pipeline from Sao Paulo State through to Brazil's southernmost states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. Officials in Bolivia believe that the $ 2 bn pipeline will lead to other such connections between their country and Paraguay, Peru, Argentina, and Chile. The 357-mile Bolivian portion of the pipeline will cost some $ 400 mm from Rio Grande, near Santa Cruz to Puerto Suarez, on the Brazilian border. Stateenergy firm YPFB has engaged Enron Development to help develop the Bolivian portion of the pipeline. Enron won the award last December in a joint-venture bid with Shell Overseas Holdings. Bolivia is believed to have substantial potential in crude oil and natural gas.

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