URUPABOL to discuss gas supply project

Friday, July 1, 2011

The technical commission of regional bloc URUPABOL comprised of Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay will meet July 11 to advance a project to supply Bolivian natural gas to the latter countries.

Sector authorities will gather in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, at the offices of state hydrocarbons company YPFB to draft a timetable and approve reference terms to complete feasibility studies, the landlocked country's hydrocarbons and energy ministry said in a statement.

The Andean Development Corporation financed prefeasibility work, which highlighted, in an initial phase, the transport of LNG to Asunción and Montevideo via the Paraguay-Paraná waterway.

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BNamericas reported previously that five land routes and one water alternative had been identified in the prefeasibility study, which Argentine company Quantum and Bolivian firms ABS and T&C carried out.

Demand studies for the Bolivian gas have pegged demand in an average scenario at 4Mm3/d in 2014 and 10Mm3/d in 2030, of which 60-70% corresponds to Uruguay and the balance to Paraguay.

BNamericas has questioned the feasibility of such a pipeline due to Paraguay and Uruguay's small markets, and other gas supply alternatives on the drawing board including a planned LNG regasification plant and offshore gas E&P in the latter country.

The announcement of the planned meeting paralleled inauguration of the 48km Juana Azurduy natural gas pipeline (GIJA), which will transport Bolivian gas from the Margarita field in Tarija region to Salta province in Argentina. At a later stage, GIJA will connect to Argentina's planned 1,465km GNEA natural gas transport project.

Kaiser-Petrosur built the 32-inch diameter, 13km Bolivian stretch, and Servicios Vertua the 30-inch, 35km section in Argentina.

The pipeline aims to help consolidate Bolivia's supply presence to gas-hungry Argentina, which in May received an average of 7.37Mm3/d from Bolivia. Under current export pledges, the latter country aims to increase gas exports to Argentina to 27.7Mm3/d in 2021.