The construction of an 8,000 kilometer-long gas pipeline between Caracas, Venezuela, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, will be the chief topic of meeting between the presidents of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Argentina, Nestor Kirchner, and Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.
The three have a meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 19, in Brasília. A commission was created last month to analyze the feasibility of the project. The ministers of energy of the three countries met subsequently to discuss the matter.
According to the general undersecretary for South America in the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations, Ambassador José Eduardo Martins Felício, preliminary reports indicate that Venezuela would be capable of exporting over 100 million cubic meters of gas daily.
Brazil currently imports 26 million cubic meters of gas daily from Bolivia, its main supplier. This volume, according to the ambassador, represents 35% of what Brazil consumes.
"It might even be interesting for Brazil increase the quantity of gas consumed in its energy matrix," Felício suggested. "It is a promising area, but everything will depend upon the feasibility studies, on how much the project will cost."
According to the Venezuelan Ministry of Energy, the project would take 5-7 years and require investments of between US$ 17 billion and US$ 20 billion.
Construction of the gas pipeline will be the most important topic on the agenda of the presidents’ work meeting, but not the only one.
Lula, Kirchner, and Chavez are also expected to evaluate proposals for cooperation in the areas of education, culture, and the economy and to discuss issues of regional and international significance.