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Petrobras expects Bolivian gas for 2-4 yrs more



By Argus

Petroleumworld 04 01 2019

Brazilian state-controlled Petrobras expects to continue to receive natural gas from Bolivia for up to four more years after its supply contract with its Bolivian counterpart YPFB expires on 31 December 2019.

In the 1996 contract between the two parties, Petrobras agreed to buy a total volume of 201.9bn m³, of which 38bn m³ is yet to be delivered.

Petrobras said it expects it will take two to four years to consume the remaining gas volumes, adding that the length of the extension will depend on monthly deliveries.

Petrobras' expectation for continued gas supply from Bolivia, beyond the expiry of the contract, is consistent with previous remarks by YPFB officials.

The Bolivian company recently paid a penalty for its failure to deliver the minimum gas volumes required in its deliver-or-pay contracts in 2018.

Petrobras sought 25.8mn m³/d last year, but YPFB only delivered 22.6mn m³/d. Petrobras added that it has the contractual right to demand up to 31mn m³/d, of which 1.5mn m³/d is used for pipeline operations.

According to the Brazilian mines and energy ministry's monthly natural gas bulletin, Bolivian supply fell to just 13.55mn m³/d in December. Monthly deliveries also fell below the level requested by Petrobras in July, August and September 2018, when Petrobras was conducting maintenance on its Mexilhao offshore gas platform.

To compensate for the decline in domestic output and lower-than-expected imports from Bolivia, Petrobras boosted LNG imports in August and September to near-record levels.

The waning of Bolivian gas supply comes as Petrobras is preparing to cut back its dominant role in the natural gas market.

Five gas distributors in southern and central Brazil and seven companies in the northeastern region are currently holding tender offers to acquire 10mn m³/d and 9.4mn m³/d of gas, respectively.

YPFB has expressed interest in supplying gas directly to distributors in southern and central Brazil, but its success will depend on third-party access to the Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline (Gasbol). Brazil's oil regulator ANP is currently holding public consultations on new regulations for third-party access to the pipeline.

The Brazilian distributors will receive supply proposals until 29 March.


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