Regional Pipeline Preliminary Studies Expected Year-end


International task forces studying the technical and commercial feasibility of a regional natural gas pipeline could present preliminary conclusions at the end of the year, Brazil's mining and energy minister Silas Rondeau told reporters.

The task forces would present the studies to the presidents of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. The groups met last week and plan to hold another meeting in December before presenting preliminary conclusions.

"This is a 30-year integration project for producing and consuming countries in the continent," he said. "It needs to be done in stages."

The pipeline project would link gas fields in Venezuela to other countries such as Argentina and Uruguay, crossing Brazil. It could run 8,000-15,000km and link other producing countries such as Bolivia and Peru.

Initial stages could include construction of a stretch linking Venezuelan gas fields to Ceara state in northeastern Brazil and one connecting Peru's Camisea gas fields to Argentina and Chile, he said.

Investments would come from countries involved in the project, possibly including Bolivia and Chile in addition to Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

"The priority of the project will be determined by the feasibility studies," he said. "Investments will only be made if the project is competitive."

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