Petrobras again stops BG from using Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline

By an OGJ Online Correspondent

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 18 -- Transportadora Brasileira Gasoduto, a Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) subsidiary, has stopped BG Group PLC from transporting gas via the $2 billion Bolivia-Brazil pipeline.

BG was moving 2.2 million cu m/day (MMcmd) of gas on the line, but TBG, the operator, said Petrobras has priority.

Previous squabbles over access to the line -- which Petrobras had wanted to keep for itself -- had forced the government to step in to allow third-party access (OGJ Online, Oct. 8, 2001).

Francois Moreau, BG Brasil corporate affairs director, said that the company sent lawyers to Bolivia to try to resolve the situation.

"GTB is using the same arguments that Petrobras used in the past and that were considered unacceptable by Brazil's National Petroleum Agency," said Moreau.

Utilization of the line, with potential capacity of 30 MMcmd, is only 12.2 MMcmd. TBG claims it will use the full capacity next year when new electric power plants come on stream. BG claims Petrobras will be transporting only 24 MMcmd by 2003.

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