Petrobras’s sale of Nova Transportadora do Sudeste (NTS) to Canadian group Brookfield represents a mark for the natural gas industry in Brazil. By putting an end to the de facto monopoly that the state-controlled company had in the transportation of gas, the deal becomes an important first step toward reducing the vertical integration of the sector, but by itself is not yet enough to make the market develop fully, experts told Valor.
On September 23rd, Petrobras announced that its board of directors approved the transfer of 90% of NTS shares to the consortium led by the Canadian fund for $5.19 billion. The first installment of the deal, representing 84% of the total, or $4.34 billion, will be paid when the transaction is completed, which should happen still this year. The remaining $850 million will be paid over five years. Petrobras said the sale “encourages new investments in the expansion of gas transport infrastructure” and favors the development of a competitive environment in the country.
Gas consumers, producers and traders see the need of some adjustments in the regulatory framework to bring new players to this market. The sector eagerly awaits the launch of a package of regulatory changes that the Ministry of Mines and Energy expects to present to the market in October.
One of the main fronts for the government is the sharing of infrastructure considered essential for producers to reach the consumer market, such as gathering pipelines, processing units and re-gasification plants. The Gas Law ensures the right of free access for third parties only to the transmission pipelines, but there are entry barriers to the rest of the chain.
Source: Valor Econômico S.A.