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    Brazil Approves Further Gas Market Liberalisation


Brazil is working to end Petrobras' monopoly over supply.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Brazil Approves Further Gas Market Liberalisation

Brazil's lower house of parliament on September 2 approved a new gas regulatory framework aimed at opening the sector up to competition.

Brazil has already taken other steps to liberalise its gas industry and end the de-facto monopoly of Petrobras over supply, including allowing other gas producers to use the national company's processing capacity. Under a new bill, which passed with 351 votes for and 101 against, producers will no longer be able to own distribution assets.

Petrobras has already begun divesting some of its distribution operations. It launched the binding phase in June for the sale of its 51% stake in Gaspetro, a holding group operating some 10,000 km of distribution pipelines.

The bill, which must clear Brazil's upper house, also changes the regime governing distribution from concessions by the government to authorisations by the country's oil and gas regulator ANP. This is expected to reduce red tape.

House deputy Laercio Oliveira said the changes would streamline the development of new gas pipelines and increase gas production, which came to nearly 26bn m3 last year.