May 21, 2022

Botu Linum

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Snapshot: Argentine power exports to Brazil climb apace as fuel consumption grows

2 min read

Argentine power exports climbed apace in September amid a triple-digit increase in consumption of some fossil fuels. 

Leveraging its fleet of thermoelectric plants, the country is boosting dispatch to neighbor Brazil, which is suffering from a lengthy drought that is crippling hydroelectric output.  

Hydroelectric generation in Argentina has also been trending down as unfavorable hydrological conditions in parts of South America impact reservoir and river levels. 

Argentina exported 898GWh of electricity in September, up from 45.2GWh a year earlier, according to data from wholesale power market administrator Cammesa. Brazil accounted for all of the country’s electricity exports in the month.

Argentina imported 307GWh, up from 78GWh, chiefly from Uruguay, which is also boosting its exports to Brazil.   

September’s thermoelectric generation in Argentina was 6,871GWh, up from 5,878GWh a year earlier, according to Cammesa. Overall power demand amounted to 11,660GWh, increasing from 10,423GWh. 

Fossil fuel consumption was up: Natural gas (5.3%), fuel oil (298%), diesel (168%) and coal (578%).

Natural gas accounted for 80.8% of fossil-fuel fired thermoelectric generation in September, followed by diesel (10%), fuel oil (5.1%) and coal (4.1%).  

In related news, Cammesa will funnel profits from electricity exports into a dedicated energy infrastructure funding pot.

Accumulated resources will be used to pay for projects that “are to be determined,” the federal energy department said in a resolution.

The funding pot will receive earnings from exports once the likes of fuel and maintenance costs have been deducted.  

Argentina is exploring ways to pay for a new gas pipeline that would boost dispatch capacity from shale play Vaca Muerta, where output is growing. The estimated price tag of the duct is US$1.80bn.

The government has assigned budgetary resources to the project and, according to local press, is also mulling using revenue from a wealth tax. The cash-strapped country has also been in talks with potential Chinese backers.

Argentina also needs to bolster its transmission network to support the inclusion of additional renewables capacity.

In related news state hydrocarbons company YPF has created a new business area called midstream gas, which comprises its natural gas processing facilities, local media outlet EconoJournal reported, citing company sources.

YPF does not rule out spinning off the construction-focused operation, creating a subsidiary like electric power unit YPF Luz, it said.