The final project for the gas pipeline (gasoduto) that is to link Argentina and Brazil to Venezuela’s reserves of natural gas should be ready before June, says the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez.
He made the declaration following meetings with presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, of Brazil, and Nestor Kirchner, of Argentina, yesterday, April 26, in São Paulo, Brazil.
"The gas pipeline project is in an advanced stage," said Venezuela’s ambassador in Brazil, Julio Garcya Montoya, adding that at the São Paulo meetings there was "total harmony" on the issue.
Chavez declared that the pipeline’s principal objective is to boost development. "It is very early to talk about prices, but it certainly will be cheap," he said.
If construction on the gas pipeline begins in 2009, it should be concluded in 2017. Venezuela has South America’s largest known reserves of petroleum.
One Million Jobs
The construction of what is being called the Great Southern Gas Pipeline will create a million jobs, says Chávez.
The Venezuelan enthusiastically declared that the pipeline will be built. "We will have our gas pipeline… Venezuela has 5% of the world’s petroleum reserves and 80% of the natural gas in South America," he added.
Venezuela has proven reserves of 75 billion barrels of petroleum and 4.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.
Chavez went on to say the pipeline was an essential element in the region’s independence and development. He said he was officially inviting all the nations of South America to join the project.
A very important member of any project integrating South American energy resources is Bolivia, which already has a gas pipeline linking it with Brazil. Bolivia has proven petroleum reserves of 460 million barrels and 680 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Chavez declared that he has a scheduled meeting with the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, on Saturday, April 29, when he will discuss the matter with him.
"The presence of Bolivia is a priority. They have the second biggest reserves of oil and gas in South America," said Chavez.
The Pipeline’s Route
Nothing has been signed, but with the final project scheduled for June, discussions regarding the route of the Great Southern Gas Pipeline have begun in earnest, says Chávez.
One proposal is for the pipeline to leave Venezuela and run south through the heart of the Amazon region to Manaus, state of Amazon, and then east to Fortaleza, Ceará state, on Brazil’s Atlantic coast where it would then follow the coastline down to Rio and São Paulo and, eventually, Argentina.
Another proposal would have the pipeline cut through central Brazil, from Venezuela to Manaus to Brasilia, and then to São Paulo, before reaching Argentina.
"We are already mapping possible routes from the air," says Chavez.
The gas pipeline will stretch for more than 10,000 kilometers. The world’s longest operating pipeline, known as Druzhba, which pumps oil from southeastern Russia into western Europe, is 4,000 kilometers long. Another oil pipeline that is under construction, running from Siberia to the Sea of Japan, will be 4,200 kilometers long.