Reino Unido – Agência Reuters – 19/07/2009
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil has offered to free neighbor Paraguay from a contractual obligation to sell electricity from their shared hydroelectric dam to Brazil’s state-run energy firm Eletrobras (ELET6.SA: Quote, Profile, Research), a Brazilian newspaper said on Saturday.
The two countries each have a 50-50 share of the 14,000 megawatts of power from the dam on the border between the two states but Brazil buys most of its smaller neighbor’s share as Paraguay uses only a fraction of the electricity.
The Estado de Sao Paulo paper, citing an unnamed negotiator, said Paraguay would gradually be allowed to sell more and more of its share of power from the Itaipu dam, the world’s largest in energy output, to private Brazilian power firms in Brazil.
That would free it completely from the obligation to sell power to Eletrobras by 2023, it said.
The paper said the offer could enable Paraguay to more than double its earnings from the sales of power and branded it a gesture from Brazil to support embattled President Fernando Lugo, whose popularity has suffered with recent revelations he fathered children when he served as a Roman Catholic bishop.
It said Lugo and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were expected to sign a new agreement governing output from the dam next Friday at a meeting of members of the regional trade bloc Mercosul, in Paraguayan capital Asuncion.
Lugo has sought to revise the terms under which it exports power to Brazil since he took office last August. The paper said Brazil would retain the exclusive right to buy Paraguay’s surplus power which cannot be sold to other nations.
It said a revised price payable to Paraguay for power imports had not yet been established but that Brazil would offer $215 million, more than double the current $105 million. It did not state the period or quantity this referred to.
Paraguay, which consumes only around 5 percent of the total power from the huge dam, had previously sought as much as $800 million the paper said, but added it was now hoping to settle at $240 million.
The newspaper said the deal could include a credit line worth $1.5 billion from Brazil’s national development bank, BNDES, to finance a transmission line from the dam to Asuncion.