The Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy of Paraguay spoke with EconoJournal about the country’s priorities in energy matters and gas exploration in the Paraguayan Chaco. “Argentinian gas will always be important at the regional level, especially given the current situation in Bolivia,” Bejarano stated.
Paraguay aspires to make the Paraguayan Chaco a point of gas production and connection between Argentina and Brazil. Mauricio Bejarano, Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy of Paraguay was interviewed by EconoJournal on this and other topics related to the Paraguayan and regional energy agenda at the end of a panel during the VIII Energy Week in Montevideo:
- What are Paraguay’s priorities in energy matters in the coming years?
We will focus extensively on renewable energy generation, especially photovoltaic solar. Investments are excellently coming into our country, and we want to maintain the condition of having available and renewable energy. Therefore, we will emphasize and focus on energy generation while strengthening the electrical infrastructure. We will also place a significant focus on small hydroelectric power plants. Additionally, we aim to encourage more exploration to obtain natural gas, intending to have natural gas-based generation, especially from the Paraguayan Chaco, as a foundation. Regarding hydrocarbons, we will seek energy-efficient mechanisms to reduce dependence, especially on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), on which we depend significantly. We plan to obtain it through exploration in our Chaco or perhaps by reactivating the currently non-producing productive well. Regarding bioenergy, our country has a high biomass consumption, and we will ensure that it comes entirely from reforestation, promoting the latter. We are in the process of certifying the biomass burned in the industry, primarily for heat, not currently used to generate electrical energy. However, future plans include using it for electricity generation, as a significant paper mill is establishing itself in the country and already has a future cogeneration contract to sell its surplus to the National Electricity Administration (ANDE).
- What role could Argentine gas play in the Paraguayan energy matrix?
Argentinian gas will always be important at the regional level, especially with the potential of Vaca Muerta on the continent, and more so given the current situation where our dear sister republic, Bolivia, has no certified reserves. Additionally, we are seeking the Argentina-Brazil gas interconnection through our Paraguayan Chaco so that the market, which is currently lacking, especially in Mato Grosso Sur and Paraná, with significant natural gas consumption, can be favorably addressed. Moreover, it would be a pathway for us to inject our molecules in the case of a significant commercial discovery.
- What challenges do you see in terms of exploration in the Paraguayan Chaco?
Categorically, we face a significant challenge: the need for increased investment in exploration. As we have that, we will achieve the desired results. We will support the state oil company, which has six blocks, in finding a partner to provide economic support. Similarly, we will do the same with private companies holding concessions to find that capital.
- What key issues do you observe in the regional energy integration agenda?
We must seek greater integration with Brazil to have a favorable reception in the Brazilian market. With Argentina, we need to continue discussions because there are many pending infrastructure projects for power generation. We need to work towards the benefit of both countries for real and effective integration, making Yacyretá a point of connection and integration. For example, complementary works in Yacyretá could bring both countries extraordinary benefits.