Silva de Menezes Good afternoon to you all. Welcome to the panel entitled "Natural Gas and the Emergent Industry", at the 17th World Petroleum Congress. First of all, I would like to ask you to complete the assessment sheet at the end of the presentations and the conclusions of this Panel Session, as requested by the Coordinators. In addition to welcoming you all, I would also like to say that as a primary energy source with the highest growth rates in the global energy matrix, Natural Gas is rated as an excellent option for use at the international level. Due to its characteristics, some people rank it as a transition fuel, halfway between liquid oil-based fuels and carbon-free gas fuels such as hydrogen.

It is only over the past few years that discussions on Natural Gas have become part of the agendas in Brazil for issues related to its use as one of the most important energy feedstock of this new century.

Until now, almost no attention whatsoever was paid to this fuel, which is why its participation in Brazil's energy matrix was - and still is - negligible. This situation was basically due to the fact that little gas was available for supplying the market.

This situation altered due to two major facts: discoveries of associated gas reserves in the Campos Basin and the construction of the Bolivia-Brazil Gas Pipeline. At the moment, Natural Gas consumption hovers around 23 million m3 per day, holding only a 3% share in Brazil's matrix, which is why this industry is rated as emergent in Brazil. It is estimated that by 2005, the share held by Natural Gas in Brazil's energy matrix will reach 6%, equivalent to consumption of over 60 million m3 per day.

It is clear that this significant increase will not take place for obvious reasons. As this is a dynamic process, frequent analyses are required of the critical factors in its success, in order to make the necessary adjustments in the policies that will pave the way for this much-desired expansion in the share held by Natural Gas.

A Brazilian energy source. Among other matters, I would like to stress the regulatory framework and the role of thermo-power, investments in infrastructure and technology, capacity-building and staff training, financing, research and development, alterations in culture, and the integration policy among the Southern Cone countries.

With this World Petroleum Congress, we have an excellent forum for this type of discussion, particularly as it brings together a highly select group of authorities specializing in energy issues. This topic will certainly not be exhausted here.

The panel that is now opening will offer an important time for reflection on the future of the Natural Gas industry in Brazil, through discussions of aspects related to some of the factors listed above.



Specifically this afternoon, we will have five

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