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Energy partnership: Is Brazil at risk by cooperating with the USA?

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Energy partnership: Is Brazil at risk by cooperating with the USA?

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02:00 04.02.2020 (updated 07:58 04.02.2020) Short URL

Brazil and the United States are joining efforts to develop the energy sector, but what kind of benefits and what kind of risks should be taken into account in this possible broad partnership with the Americans?

This Monday, in Rio de Janeiro, the first ministerial meeting of the Brazil-United States Energy Forum was held, with the aim of strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the area.

Minister Bento coordinates for the Brazilian side the first Brazil-United States Energy Forum (USBEF), today in Rio. The event marks the beginning of a bilateral cooperation agenda to overcome challenges for trade and investments in energy. pic.twitter.com/1zEZqq4TsX

– Ministry of Mines and Energy (@Minas_Energia) February 3, 2020

During the event, the North American Energy Secretary, Dan Brouillete, said that the United States is willing to help Brazil develop a more attractive regulatory framework for oil and gas auctions, with more legal certainty and transparency. Despite this, the secretary praised the auctions held by Brazil last year.

The Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, in turn, mentioned unconventional gas as one of the points to be developed in this partnership with the United States, but stressed that the work is still in its initial phase.

The Brazil-United States Energy Forum was announced by Presidents Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro during a meeting in March 2019. Among the agreements then envisaged are two in the nuclear area. And, also during the event this Monday, the Brazilian Eletronuclear and the American Westinghouse signed a letter of intent to extend the useful life of the Angra 1 nuclear power plant for another 20 years, informed The globe.

Brazil needs care to defend its interests

According to nuclear engineering specialist Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), energy cooperation with the Americans must be conducted with great care to ensure the preservation of Brazil's interests. In an interview with Sputnik Brasil, he explains that "the trend in the United States is very broad" and may have an influence more focused on Washington's interests than on national interests.

"Brazil has its own interests in the energy area and needs to be very careful not to give up those interests for the benefit of the Americans," the academic told Sputnik.

According to Rosa, Brazil has a "sui generis" situation in energy, with a large oil reserve, a large oil company and good use of alternative energies, as in the case of biomass, with advantages over the United States even in this case.

"The United States uses ethanol, but American ethanol is from corn and, to produce it, it is necessary to burn petroleum fuel oil, which takes much of the advantage of using ethanol. While in Brazil, cane ethanol uses bagasse from the cane itself for its production, which makes a balance, approximately, of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a mere example. "

For the specialist, in the case of oil auctions, the US interest in influencing the Brazilian government's behavior in energy matters is explicit.

"So that the United States, which is a competitor of the auction, comes here to tell us how our auction should be? Obviously, it is an American interest that will be represented. And Brazil must look after its own interests. I think that this is a problem."

With regard to nuclear energy, the professor believes that the best way that the United States would have to help Brazil to develop this sector would be through the transfer of technologies, but this would also need to be very detailed, with great caution.

"Maybe it is a possibility, but with specific, very concrete cases, not vaguely. Helping with nuclear energy: helping in what, how and for what? I think this has to be detailed. While it is not, I also see it with great suspicion. ", he says.

In Angra 1, the researcher considers it plausible to have cooperation that is beneficial to both parties, as it is a North American reactor. But, on the Brazilian plans to build six more reactors in the next ten years, in the approximate amount of US $ 30 billion and with possible North American participation, he says he understands that there is a certain precipitation on the part of the Minister of Mines and Energy.

"Nuclear energy for Brazil was very expensive. It is problematic because of the problem of nuclear accidents. It was not in the area of ​​reactors, but Brazil has already suffered from accidents, in the area of ​​medical applications, the famous problem of cesium-137 in Goiânia. I think that nuclear energy should be the object of a very specific study, and Brazil has to make its will manifest taking into account opinions of a political and environmental nature, as nuclear energy is an environmental problem. "

The opinions expressed in this matter may not necessarily coincide with those of the Sputnik newsroom

(tagsToTranslate) partnership between Brazil and the United States (t) Brazil-USA energy cooperation (t) nuclear energy in Brazil

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