First South American Energy Summit

By: Chris Carlson -, April 18, 2007 (excerpts).

In the spirit of integration, 10 presidents of South America met this Monday and Tuesday at the first South American Energy Summit to design an energy strategy for the region. On the Venezuelan island of Margarita, the leaders of the region discussed plans for a regional gas pipeline, the development of biofuel, the creation of the Bank of the South, and the unification of South America. Venezuela and Brazil also launched a joint petrochemical plant in the eastern part of the country.

The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) is the name that the leaders decided to give to the group of countries who will work together for the development of the continent. 10 of the 12 South American presidents attended the Summit including Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Nestor Kirchner of Argentina, Luiz In cio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Nestor Duarte of Paraguay, and the Prime Ministers of Guayana, Sam Hinds, and of Surinam, Gregory Rusland. Only Tabar‚ Vazquez of Uruguay and Alan Garcia of Peru were not present.

The next step in the formation of the Union of South American Nations will be the election of a Permanent Executive Secretary. The headquarters of the new institution will be located in Quito, Ecuador, according to initial announcements.

Among the topics discussed was Hugo Chavez' proposal for a "South American Energy Treaty" in order to guarantee energy, gas, petroleum and alternative fuels to the region for the next 100 years. Chavez warned of the growing energy needs in the future, predicting that by 2020 consumption will have grown by 47 percent in Latin America.

As an integral part of their plans the leaders discussed the construction of the gas pipeline known as the Great Gas Pipeline of the South, and the Trans-Caribbean Pipeline. With these pipelines Venezuela seeks to supply the region with their gas reserves, beginning with Brazil. The Great Gas Pipeline of the South...will have a length of 8,000 kilometers and will require an estimated investment of about 23 billion dollars.