17 December 2007 18:48 [Source: ICIS news]
By John Waggoner
(Adds detail on Venezuela's ties to Mercosur)
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Heads of state from Brazil and Bolivia met on Monday to discuss natural gas investments and trade amid concerns of scarcity in Brazil, which is Latin America’s largest petrochemical producer.
The meeting between President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of ?xml:namespace>
Petrochemical producers in
In a Congressional hearing on the topic in
Electricity could run out “if it does not rain enough”, Sales said, adding that new rationing measures could be required as soon as next year or 2009. By 2011, however, he said that the pressure would be off, as regulators by then would have had time to implement measures to avoid a shortfall.
Public interest in the gas supply loomed large in October, when Petrobras was forced to ration the gas supply in the industrial core of the country due to increased demands from thermal power plants. The shut-off affected only a small number of chemical producers and the situation was normalised within days.
State-run Petrobras will be instrumental toward securing the country's natural gas supply situation. About $18.2bn (€12.8bn) will be invested in the natural gas sector by 2012, according to Sergio Guerbatin, general manager of natural gas logistics operations for Petrobras.
Guerbatin said that
The meeting between Lula and Morales was expected to include talks about investments by Petrobras in
Petrobras had put its investments in the gas-rich country on hold after Evo Morales ordered the nationalisation of foreign investments in hydrocarbons in May 2006. That move chilled investment plans by petrochemical producers, but Lula has maintained close diplomatic ties and has supported Morales.
“Brazil and Argentina have to help Bolivia; have to help Uruguay; have to help Paraguay, allowing us to understand that integration is the best way out for all the countries of the Mercosur,” Lula said in Portuguese in a weekly radio broadcast on Monday. The Mercosur trade pact includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Although Venezuela has signed a membership agreement with the Mercosur, full-fledged status has not been fully ratified by all the member countries.
($1.00 = €0.70)
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