Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/27/2012 -- BMI View: The operational risks when investing in Argentina were put under the spotlight in April 2012, when President Cristina Fernandez controversially renationalised YPF, seizing a majority stake from Spain's Repsol. The government claimed that the oil and gas firm had reduced production, was not investing sufficiently in Argentina and was driving the country towards dependence upon expensive energy imports. Repsol has challenged the expropriation in US courts and is seeking compensation of US$10.5bn; Argentina, meanwhile, disputes that the shares are worth this price. Other risks in Argentina's power market were also highlighted this quarter with several utilities calling for an increase in electricity prices - which have been frozen for a decade - so they can cover their widening deficits. Some industry experts claim that if prices are not raised, utilities could be forced to ration electricity.
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Between 2011 and 2016, Argentina's overall power generation is expected to increase by an annual average of 2.1%, reaching 136 terawatt hours (TWh). Driving this growth is an annual 5.41% gain in coal-fired generation and a 3.27% rise in gas-fired generation, accompanied by annual increases in renewables-based electricity supply. Argentina's wind sector is particularly strong, with studies being carried out to assess the potential for several new projects across the country. Emgasud claimed in Q212 that Argentina has the potential to add 1,000 megawatts (MW) of energy-generating capacity on an annual basis from wind power alone.
Following estimated real GDP growth of 9.3% in 2011, BMI forecasts average annual growth of 4.4% between 2011 and 2021. BMI calculates that net power consumption will increase from 103.3TWh to 118.5TWh by 2016. During 2011-2016, the average annual growth rate for electricity demand is forecast at 2.79%, but it will increase later in the decade to average 3.6% from 2016-2021.
Argentina's power supply shortfall is likely to increase over the short term, but should fall appreciably later in the decade as new capacity comes online. The theoretical net import requirement by 2016 is forecast at 2.0TWh, but it should be no more than 0.21TWh by 2021.
Key developments for Argentina's power sector this quarter include:
- Argentina's government took the controversial decision to nationalise oil firm YPF in April 2012, expropriating a 51% of the shares held by Spain's Repsol. The authorities claim this move will ensure increased oil and gas production.
- Electricity companies, including Edesur and EDELAP, have admitted that the existing low electricity tariffs are pushing them close to bankruptcy. In May 2012, power regulator ENRE revealed it was waiting for the government to approve upward revisions to electricity tariffs.
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