- Oil Gas Companies
The 275-mile, 100-Mmcf/d Parana-Uruguayana pipeline connects Argentina and Brazil. The pipeline provides natural gas to AES Brasil Energia 600-MW power plant in Uruguayana. The Argentine section is operated by Transportadora de Gas de Mercosur; the 16-mile Brazilian section is operated by Transportadora Sul Brasileira de Gas. There are plans to construct a 384-mile extension from Uruguayana to Porte Alegre, where the pipeline would supply thermal power plants.
In January 2003, Argentine natural gas began to flow to Montevideo, Uruguay, through the 250-mile, 190-Mmcf/d Gasoducto Cruz del Sur (GCDS, Southern Cross pipeline). The GCDS project also includes a concession covering a possible extension from Uruguay to Porto Alegre in southern Brazil. Major partners in the GCDS project are British Gas and Pan American Energy.
While Argentina is a net exporter of natural gas, it also imports natural gas from Bolivia through the 274-mile, 212-Mmcf/d Yacimientos-Bolivian Gulf (Yabog) pipeline. This pipeline serves Argentina northern regions, which are not well supplied by the domestic natural gas transmission network. Argentina began importing natural gas from Bolivia during the 2004 energy crisis, which it had not done since 1999. Argentina continued to import gas from Bolivia following the end of the energy crisis, and the two countries made agreements to continue the trade through 2006. To facilitate these increased imports, the Argentine government solicited bids in 2004 for the construction of an additional pipeline between the two countries, the $1 billion, 600-mile Gasoducto Noreste Argentino.
Trinidad and Tobago has an extensive pipeline network linking offshore oil and gas fields to onshore landing points. Many of the natural gas pipelines directly connect production to the Atlantic LNG export facility . Trinidad and Tobago is currently building the Cross Island pipeline (CIP), a 52-inch, 47-mile pipeline linking the east coast of Trinidad with Atlantic LNG. CIP will be the first 52-inch natural gas pipeline in the Western Hemisphere, and it will have an initial capacity of 2.4 Bcf/d. Trinidad and Tobago has also proposed the construction of intra-region pipelines that would directly link its production to other Caribbean islands; none of these proposals, however, have moved beyond the planning stages.
OGJ reported that Argentina had 18.9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves in January 2006, the third-largest amount in Latin America. Natural gas production in the country has steadily increased over the last decade; in 2003, Argentina produced 1.4 Tcf of natural gas, a slight increase from 2002, but 91 percent higher than 1993. In line with this increase in production, Argentina natural gas consumption has also risen significantly in the past decade and is now the country dominant fuel source, accounting for 46 percent of primary energy consumption in 2003.
Argentina exports natural gas to its neighbors, principally Chile. However, this relationship was strained by Argentina 2004 energy crisis, when Argentina repeatedly reduced natural gas exports to Chile in order to make up for domestic shortages. Since then, Argentina has regularly cut exports to Chile in order to meet domestic demand. Argentina is Chile sole source of natural gas imports, and the continuing supply disruptions have created tension between the two countries.
Argentina began deregulating natural gas production in 1989 as part of its privatization of YPF. As with the oil industry, YPF (now Repsol-YPF) retains a dominant position in the upstream sector. The second-largest natural gas producer in Argentina is Total. Two companies, Transportadora de Gas del Sur (TGS) and Transportadora de Gas del Norte (TGN), control Argentina natural gas transmission system. TGS, controlled by Petrobras, is South America largest pipeline company. The company delivers about 60 percent of Argentina total natural gas consumption, mainly in the greater Buenos Aires area.
Since the privatization of the system in 1992, the distribution portion of Argentina natural gas market has become dominated by MetroGas SA, Gas Natural Ban SA, Camuzzi Gas Pampeana SA, and Camuzzi Gas del Sur SA, many of which have strong foreign ownership. Argentina natural gas industry was at the center of the country 2004 energy crisis. Government-imposed caps on natural gas prices led to a surge in natural gas usage, exceeding the country gas supply. To prevent a similar crisis in the future, the Argentine government has promised to raise, and eventually liberalize, natural gas prices, though there is no firm timetable in place for this liberalization.
Argentina is one of South Americas largest economies. Though it suffered through a severe financial crisis in 2001-2002, the countrys economy has now fully recovered to pre-crisis levels. In 2005, Argentinas real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an estimated rate of 8.7 percent, slightly lower than the 9.0 percent growth rate of 2004. Economic forecasts are for 5.0 percent real growth in 2006.
Argentina experienced an energy crisis in 2004. State-imposed caps kept energy prices low, which drove a dramatic increase in energy demand that outstripped supply. The government broke a natural gas export contract to Chile, began importing natural gas from Bolivia, and initiated energy rationing. The crisis threatened to stifle Argentinas nascent economic recovery and severely strained the countrys relations with Chile. To prevent future crises, the Argentina government initiated a set of energy sector reforms, including the establishment of a new, state-owned energy company (Enarsa), incentives for greater investment in downstream infrastructure, and plans to eventually liberalize energy prices.
OGJ reported that Colombia had proven natural gas reserves of 4.0 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2006. The country produced and consumed 218 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2004, both slightly higher than 2003. The governments Plan de MasificaciÓn de Gas Natural (Natural Gas Mass Consumption Plan) aims to increase domestic natural gas use and establish Colombia as the -gas hub- for the Andean region.