Argentina unveils speaker list for public hearing on gas rates

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

A public hearing on Friday to discuss a planned phase-out of government subsidies for residential natural gas consumption in Argentina will include 373 speakers, state media reported Thursday.

Energy and mining minister Juan José Aranguren will open with a 20-minute presentation on his strategy to incrementally raise consumer rates in order to attract needed investment in local E&P, reduce dependence on imported fuels, and prevent supply shortages.

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Aranguren will be followed by representatives of firms including state oil company YPF, Total Austral, energy consultancy G&G, natural gas transporters TGN and TGS, and distributors Metrogas, Gas Natural BAN, Camuzzi Gas del Sur and Distribuidora del Gas Cuyana.

Other speakers will include federal legislators, consumer advocacy groups, union leaders, provincial authorities and ombudsmen, non-residential gas consumers, and citizens interested in participating.

At the Argentina Business and Investment Forum this week in Buenos Aires, executives including Total's head of E&P for the Americas, Michel Hourcard, BP CEO Bob Dudley, and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris all cited the importance of clear, consistent market-based pricing signals in the natural gas segment in order to attract needed multibillion-dollar investments in the Vaca Muerta shale reserve.

The government currently subsidizes 81% of residential gas consumption, according to data from the ministry, leading to distortions and imbalance in the local market.

Argentina's supreme court ruled in August that the ministry could not implement rate hikes without first holding a public hearing.

Click here to view the complete list of speakers.