Olade: Gran Gasoducto Pipeline Could be Ready 5-7 Years

Gran Gasoducto del Sur, the South American natural gas pipeline project Venezuela is promoting, could be operational in 5-7 years, Alvaro Rios Roca, executive secretary of Latin American energy organization Olade, told BNamericas.

The pipeline would help Venezuela meet its goal of exporting natural gas to markets outside and within the region, said Rios, who recently visited Venezuela and met with officials from gas regulator Enagas and state oil firm PDVSA.

"The Gran Gasoducto del Sur, carrying gas to Brazil and Argentina, is another reality that could be seen in 5-7 years," the Olade official said during a phone interview as he was touring Central America.

In fact, the pipeline could be ready sooner.

"The north of Brazil is one of the areas where reserves are declining. There is then a need to complement this gas and the closest reserves are in Venezuela," he said.

The Southern Cone will have to import gas from outside the region if it does not make large new discoveries, he said, based on Olade supply and demand studies that run to 2018.

"Either Venezuelan gas starts arriving by pipeline before that date or we will have to start bringing it in LNG form, especially for Argentina and Brazil, the countries that will have the highest demand," Rios said.

One of the top new developments in Venezuelan natural gas E&P, Plataforma Deltana, will be ready to declare commerciality by the end of 2007, BNamericas previously reported.

Venezuela estimates the pipeline project would cover 8,000-15,000km, starting in Venezuela, crossing Brazil and ending in Argentina.

Venezuela would be the main contributor of gas for the project, although Bolivia would use existing pipeline infrastructure to place additional volumes.

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