Shell sees rapid growth in gas demand in Latin America

Apr 22, 1997 02:00 AM

Shell says it expects natural gas demand in Latin America to at least double over the next 25 years. Dick de Jong, director of Shell International Gas said that demand for the region could jump to 160-200 billion cubic meter from 80 billion in 1995 representing an average annual increase of more than 3 %. The key factors behind demand growth would be steady economic growth, demand for cleaner fuels particularly in power generation and investment in distribution infrastructure. He said $ 30 billion would have to be invested to sustain such a level of growth.
He compared Latin America's current position with that of Europe in the early 1970s when the gas business was in its infancy and mainly a localised affair. "Increasingly the European market is being integrated ...growth in demand particularly for power generation and with the opening up of new areas previously without gas supplies continues to surge ahead. All this could and should happen in Latin America." Apart from further liberalisation of domestic gas markets, major infrastructure projects such as the long delayed Bolivia to Brazil gas pipeline would have to be completed to ensure natural gas challenges for the role of a fuel of choice for the region. Work on the $2 billion pipeline will begin in June and commissioning should take place in December 1998 with initial deliveries at 9 mm cm a day from December 1999 but could rise to 23 mm cm depending on Brazilian demand.

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