"With Brazilian investment for new hydroelectric plants near the Andes, I could light up the whole northwestern part of Brazil and give the industrial center of Manaus in the jungle all the energy it needs, instead of building a strange $20 billion natural gas pipeline.”
Garcia, on a two-day visit in Latin America’s largest country, obviously referred to the ultra project of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez who since the beginning of this year plans to construct a gas pipeline from south Venezuelan through Brazil into Argentina, with branches headed for nations like Bolivia. The project, however, still has no timeline or concrete plans, and it is not clear if the pipeline will include the remote areas of the Brazilian Amazon.
Garcia avoided to mention Venezuela and Bolivia by name but warned about the threat to Brazil’s future economic growth since "the gas can run out or they can turn off the tap. But our water never stops flowing.”
Garcia suggested that our country was a more reliable partner for Brazil when speaking before representatives of Sao Paulo’s powerful Federation of Industries (Fiesp), whose members intend investing in Peru mainly in infrastructure, which includes the construction of an $800 million highway connecting Peru’s Pacific coast with Brazil’s Amazon, and a new hydroelectric plant.
"You have to know how choose your partners, a partner who is responsible, doesn’t change the rules in the middle of the game, and has a sense for modernization”, he remarked. "With a Brazil-Peru connection, it’s a win-win situation.”
Brazil obtains 50% of its domestic gas consumption through purchases of about 26 million cubic meters per day from Bolivia, but is in difficult negotiations with President Morales’ government who is asking for a significant price increase.
In addition Brazil was surprised when Morales nationalized Bolivia’s hydrocarbon industry by decree on May 1st, sending his military forces to confiscate two Brazil-owned refineries.
"I extend my hand to Petrobras and give my word that things won’t change," Garcia told reporters after his speech.
– related articles –
– Peruvian leader offers hydropower to Brazil (by Alan Clendenning, AP/Miami Herald)