Natural gas rationing is ruled out

10/04/2006 - 22h36

Ana Larissa Albuquerque
Reporter - Agência Brasil

Brasília - The minister of Mines and Energy, Silas Rondeau, guaranteed, yesterday (10), that, through midnight on Thursday (13), "the possibility of natural gas rationing in Brazil is ruled out. There will be no supply cuts."

In a collective interview, the minister observed that a 12% cut for the distributors responsible for providing gas to industries, residences, and CNG (compressed natural gas) fuel pumps was announced on Friday (7).

Breakages caused by heavy rains in 800 meters of a gas pipeline operated by Petrobras - Brazilian Petroleum S.A. - in Bolivia, on April 2, led the Brazilian ministery to adopt a set of measures to maintain gas supplies: a 72% reduction in gas furnished to thermoelectric plants, a 51% reduction in the gas consumed by Petrobrás in its own refineries, and a reduction of up to 12% in the gas furnished to state distributors.

According to minister Rondeau, the reduction in gas furnished to thermoelectric plants is not affecting electricity supplies. "The situation is encouraging. It is necessary to restore the 800 meters that suffered damages, but, for the time being, we will make use of a parallel pipeline to maintain the supply," he declared.

Construction work to restore the pipeline for transporting gas from Bolivia has already started, and the ministry foresees that the situation will be back to normal in 30 days.

Translation: David Silberstein