Natural gas-rich Bolivia has invited Paraguay and Uruguay to confirm sufficient demand to justify the building of a commercially viable 2.000 kilometres pipeline linking with Asunción and Montevideo.
Bolivian Hydrocarbons minister Luis Fernando Vincenti has been holding talks with representatives from both countries not only for the sale of natural gas but also to become partners in setting up a chain of service stations to provide gas for vehicles.
Vincenti recently said that discussions were advancing for the initial daily sale of 300.000 cubic metres of natural gas to Uruguay, taking advantage of the Argentine pipelines’ system.
The Bolivian official said that 72% of Uruguay’s energy matrix could be supplied with Bolivian natural gas, more abundant and cheaper than the current energy costs.
“This is in line with the Bolivian government’s policy of adding value to our exports, a qualitative leap forward which could be accomplished with the service stations”, said Vincneti.
He added that Bolivia has also proposed Mercosur junior members to identify projects that could transform local commodities into higher added value products taking advantage of Bolivian reliable, clean and cheap energy.
Vincenti mentioned specifically thermo-electric generation plants and the possibility of building a deep-water port in Uruguay under ‘free zone’ regime so that Bolivia’s natural gas could be shipped overseas.
At the end of the month a Bolivian technical delegation will be visiting Asunción to keep advancing on these projects. The agenda also includes a presidential summit of Urupabol (Uruguay/Paraguay/Bolivia) country members next September in support of the project
Bolivia has the largest natural gas reserves in South America behind Venezuela and supplies Brazil with 30 million cubic meters per day and Argentina with seven million cubic meters.
But the two senior Mercosur members are the only clients for Bolivian gas.