Wednesday, July 17, 2024

ECONOMY | 05-04-2022 16:59

Argentina to hold talks with Bolivia and Brazil over gas supplies

Alberto Fernández will receive his Bolivian counterpart Luis Arce on Thursday to begin negotiations over the supply of gas during the cold Winter months.

Hot on the heels of a state visit from Chilean President Gabriel Boric, Argentina's President Alberto Fernández will receive his Bolivian counterpart, Luis Arce, on Thursday for talks over energy supplies in the coming months.

"The presidents of Argentina and Bolivia decided to lead the negotiation themselves over the provision of gas for the winter because [supply] has been blocked for months and it represents a strategic and essential resource for our country," Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero confirmed in comments to the Télam state news agency on Wednesday.

Fernández and Arce will discuss natural gas supplies following doubts over the extension of existing contracts between Argentine and Bolivian firms. Some sectors in Argentina, fearing a lack of supply, have warned that fuel rationing may be needed in the cold winter months without new contracts guaranteeing supply.

Government officials are hopeful that Argentina will strike a deal with Bolivia to increase the supply of gas.

In the same vein, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán will travel to Brazil on Friday to make progress on energy supplies. The official, who has faced criticism from the Kirchnerite sector of the ruling coalition, will meet on Friday in São Paulo with Brazilian Mining & Energy Minister Bento Costa Lima. He will later attend a forum with 200 Brazilian businessmen from various economic sectors with the aim of promoting investment in the country. 

Guzmán and Argentina's Ambassador to Brazil Daniel Scioli are hoping to seal an agreement with the Brazilian government that will see it cede the two million cubic metres per day it receives from Bolivia in order to improve domestic supplies.

Argentina's economy minister met last Monday with his Chilean Energy counterpart, Claudio Huepe Minoletti, with whom he signed an energy integration agreement. The meeting was also attended by the International Economic Relations Secretary for at the Foreign Ministry, Cecilia Todesca Bocco and Energy Secretary Darío Martínez, among other officials.

The government has assured citizens that it is working to guarantee supplies, though officials have acknowledged the challenges it faces.

"The government can guarantee that there will be no shortage of gas in winter, I say this and the reality may disprove me, we did not know that there was going to be a war in Ukraine and it is happening, and this is changing the international scenario," Presidential Spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti declared recently.

Fear of shortages are increasing due to Argentina's economic difficulties in balancing the demand and supply of liquified natural gas (LNG) as a result of the rise in international prices in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In addition, drought in some regions have affected water flows and caused a fall in the generation capacity of hydroelectric plants.



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