Bolivia gives Petrobras go-ahead for new gas pipeline

Jun 06, 2001 02:00 AM

Brazilian energy company Petrobras has been given the go-ahead to build a gas pipeline in Bolivia with capacity to transport up to 50 mm cm of natural gas daily, official sources have said. The deputy Environment minister authorized Petrobras-Bolivia to build the 450 km (280-mile) project known as Yabog II, which will run between Yacuiba and Rio Grande.
The 91.44-centimetre (36-inch) gas pipeline will require a $ 300-mm investment. Brazilian Ambassador to Bolivia, Estelio Marcos Amarante, said that Petrobras has already begun purchasing pipeline for the new project.
It is seen as a middle-term measure to solve Brazil's current dramatic power crisis, and will connect to the 3,150 km (1,960-mile) mega-pipeline that links central Bolivia with south-eastern Brazil. Brazil is attempting to handle its electricity energy crisis, by enforcing a strict household energy rationing program that went into effect.

Consumers have been warned they could face hefty fees or cut-offs if they use more than 500 kW of electricity per month. Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso is set to conduct a state visit to his Bolivian counterpart Hugo Banzer at the end of the month, aimed at negotiating an increase in Bolivian gas supply to Brazil.
Petrobras-Bolivia, a subsidiary of Petrobras-Internacional (Braspetro) operates the San Alberto and San Antonio fields near Yacuiba, in conjunction with Andina, and TotalFinaElf of France. Petrobras, Andina and Total have a preferential stake in operating 70 % of current Bolivian-Brazilian gas capacity.
And under an energy agreement signed in 1997 between La Paz and Brasilia, Bolivian gas exports to its eastern neighbour were scheduled to reach 30 mm cm by 2005. However, the new pipeline project, as a contingency measure, would boost Bolivian exports to Brazil to 55 mm cmpd by 2003 -- five times the current volume.

The original gas pipeline, longer, but narrower at 81.3 centimetres (32 inches) in diameter, has a maximum transport capacity of 30 mm cmpd of gas,and cost some $ 2 bn to build. The three operators are currently using a connecting pipeline, known as Yabog, controlled by US company Transredes. That pipe has a 60.1 centimetre (24-inch) girth, with capacity to transport only 7 mm cmpd of gas.

Source: AFP via Energy24
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