Government, Market Want Technical Profile for New Minister

Brazil's government is keen to select a new mines and energy minister with a technical rather than political profile, according to media and government reports.

The power market also supports a move to appoint a minister with technical experience.

The government this week is due to announce its choice to head the ministry following the resignation of Silas Rondeau over allegations of corruption. The government had not announced its choice at press time on Thursday.

Media reports show Marcio Zimmermann and Nelson Hubner are the top contenders to lead the ministry.

Zimmermann, the ministry's planning and development secretary, has worked for the planning division of federal power company Eletrobras subsidiary Eletrosul, power plant Itaipu's technical management and Eletrobras' engineering division.

Interim minister Hubner previously worked as the ministry's executive secretary and has held positions with power regulator Aneel, utility CEB and distributors association (Abradee).


The minister must have a technical profile and in-depth knowledge of the sector as well as managerial skills, Cesar de Barros Pinto, transmission association Abrate executive manager told BNamericas.

"We cannot afford to have a new minister who will need time to understand how the sector works. Marcio Zimmermann fits the requirements," he said.

Zimmermann and Hubner both are solid professionals who are aware of the sector's problems, said Alvaro Teixeira, executive secretary of the country's oil and gas institute (IBP).

"The new minister should understand the current energy problems in Brazil. Some people defend a minister with more expertise in the oil and gas sector and others want to have in the ministry a more electric power-oriented head," he said.

Problems include advancing the Madeira hydro project and ensuring the 9th hydrocarbons licensing round takes place this year, he said.

Francisco Rondinelli, president of Brazil's nuclear energy association Aben, believes either Zimmermann or Hubner would be the right man for the job.

"The main challenges will be to implement projects that have been postponed - like nuclear plants such as Angra III - to avoid an energy crisis."

Although the change in leadership could cause delays, "both [candidates] are very knowledgeable about the sector," he said.

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