Naturgy embarhes on gas market reform

 

The Spanish Naturgy, responsible for the distribution of channeled gas from Rio de Janeiro, presented to the state regulatory agency embargoes against a reform in the natural gas market put into progress by the State government, said on Monday (15) Director of the association that gathers distributors in Brazil.

The reform, which was approved about a month ago by the regulatory Agency for Energy and Sanitation of the state of Rio de Janeiro (AGENERSA), is aligned with ambitious plans of the federal government to create a more competitive environment for the gas segment in Brazil.

The Naturgy movement, however, illustrates some of the challenges that should be faced by governments seeking the participation of more agents in the distribution sector.

In deliberation, the state regulator had approved the reduction of the minimum volume required for the characterization of free consumer, created rules for self-producers and self-importers and gave more autonomy for the construction of pipelines by third parties.

However, the measures depend on an additive to the contract of Naturgy, which expires only in seven years, so that they can be worth, according to the evaluation of the Brazilian Association of Distributors of channeled gas (Abegás).

The association sees distortions in the new rules and believes that they could impair the performance of the Distributor.

"This regulation does not stand up," said Marcelo Mendonça, director of strategy and market of Abegás.

He avoided getting into details about the points questioned by Naturgy. The Spaniard did not respond immediately to requests for comments.

For Abegás, among the issues that need to be reviewed is a rule that allows companies to build their own pipeline, without the participation of the Distributor, and can still serve other markets with it. The Director also criticized the creation of multiple tariffs for the same service.

Mendonça also highlighted a lack of clarity in some points of the AGENERSA proposal, such as the prediction of tariff reduction for the thermal segment without being explained how this decrease will be.

"Created more confusion in the market. It creates a proposal that refers to a concession contract. Why don't we negotiate the concession agreement, wake up what has to be done and then make a regulation? ", asked Mendonça.

The expectation of Abegás is that AGENERSA will position itself on the embargoes presented at the next meeting of the organ, scheduled for July 30th. The director of Abegás does not rule out that the matter ends judicialized, if Naturgy and Agenersa do not enter into an understanding.

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