Foto: Econojournal

Without gas. Due to the lack of supply, Enargas had to form a crisis committee together with transporters and distributors from all over the country, ordering them to supply only priority consumption: homes, schools and hospitals. The drastic decision took place from Tuesday to Thursday morning, and involved cutting off the CNG supply to all service stations and more than 200 industries, which had to stop their production.

This is a situation that probably could have been avoided; in March Vaca Muerta increased its year-on-year gas production by 3.9%. Despite the exceptional factors that could have accelerated the internal shortage, different sectors of businessmen, analysts and specialists agree that there is great improvisation and lack of planning in terms of energy on the part of the government.

Taking into account that in the country An extractivist model and plundering of natural common goods has been advancing for years, and that the bosses’ parties are far from proposing a different alternative, such as a truly just energy transition as proposed by the left. Let’s review some relevant axes to understand this crisis:

-Chainsaw in public works: Since its inauguration, this government has boasted of a large cut in public spending to reduce the deficit. Consequently, the suspension of public works caused delays in the completion of the compressor plants in Neuquén and Salliqueló. This government’s adjustment directly affected the transportation capacity of the gas pipeline, which could transport up to 11 million cubic meters per day (MMm³/d) in that first section. These are important works that could reduce the number of imported ships to spend the winter.

-Advanced cold: Autumn temperatures are at lower than normal levels. Everything seems to indicate that winter has not only “earlier” and that due to the polar cold the demand for gas will be greater than expected. However, it is no excuse, climate forecasts can be used to anticipate these predictable situations. Especially when the implication is the increase in demand for gas – to heat homes and environments – which will strain the capacity to provide and transport this supply, with national impact.

-Lack of foresight: the Ministry of Energy that leads Eduardo Rodríguez Chirillo, showed that there is no plan to guarantee the energy supply necessary for the operation of basic demands. From the productive framework and household consumption, to the provision of services.

He saving dollars generated by the stoppage of works at the compressor plants in Neuquén and Salliqueló, ended up resulting in lower transportation capacity when gas demand grows. Consequently, they ended up spending more dollars to import LNG vessels. The specialist Nicolas Gandini He pointed out in the program Pasaron Cosas (Radio Con Vos) that the 12 shipments of imported diesel oil have an approximate cost of 500 million dollars, while finishing the works on the gas pipeline would cost at most 100 million dollars.

In addition, due to the advance of the cold, a shipment of LNG to Brazil had to be contracted, at an extra cost of 44 million dollars. The ineffectiveness is visible.

-Problems with the Petrobras shipIn a hurry, Enarsa hired an LNG vessel from the Brazilian Petrobras over the weekend to avoid shortages. However, Enarsa and Banco Nación did not comply with the administrative procedures established with Brazil to make payment for the shipment. Consequently, the ship was tied to the port of Escobar (where the regasification station is located), and did not unload gas in time to lessen the impact of this crisis.

The consequence was that due to low gas pressure in the interconnected national gas system – which endangers the security of that network – Enargas had to cut off the supply. The low pressure caused by the increase in demand and a supply that is not growing. First the CNG stations were cut off since they have a substitute which is gasoline, then it was the turn of Cammesa, the electricity generator. The crisis escalated so quickly that the order was sent to interrupt the use of supplies to all factories, whether they had interruptible contracts or not. Gandini stressed that there was a near shortage of residential neighborhoods, something that never happened.

get through the winter

The government celebrates online for the recomposition of supply, something that should not have happened. Spending the winter under current driving will be quite an adventure. Milei says there is no money and with that mantra he decided to suspend public works, even those of a structural and strategic nature for a country, such as those that have the objective of guaranteeing energy supply. In the middle of the gas crisis, Milei walked around the United States, with public funds.

Their proposal is to deepen the extractivist model that has been in force in the country for years, Vaca Muerta is its emblem. The Base Law includes chapters that increase the imperialist plunder of natural commons and almost prohibit the slightest environmental regulation, and maintain enormous tax benefits.

Nothing good can come from that direction for the popular sectors and the workers. There is no “spillover effect” as some sectors of Peronism want to sell. Multinationals plunder resources and drain all wealth while increasing the destruction of the environment. There are many families that live on top of the Vaca Muerta rock, and they do not have a gas connection. Few days ago a child from the Nueva Esperanza Rural Colony died due to a fire caused by an electrical fault in the stove that his family used to heat the house. A brutal social crime.

Luis Caputo announced that a new wave of high rates is coming in June to electricity and gas that will affect the vulnerable and middle sectors. Access to these services is a right of working people. It is necessary to end the profits of privatized companies, the weight of electricity bills is the highest in 30 years.

The left proposes a different kind of solution opposed to the extractivist consensus. Advance in a fair, urgent and realistic energy transition, which puts social interests first, in harmony with the environment. Nationalize without payment the companies under the control, administration and management of the workers, together with technicians and specialists from public universities, carrying out a plan that includes control of popular users.


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