The price of natural gas is readjusted every three months and this is the second consecutive increase in the price of fuel after the cuts made at the beginning of the new coronavirus pandemic: in September 2020, the increase was 33%.
Natural gas is used by consumers who receive piped gas for both cooking and water heating, for example, and it is an important industrial input, with great weight in the costs of sectors such as chemicals, glass and energy, for example.
At the beginning of the government, he was elected as one of the priorities of Minister Paulo Guedes (Economy), who promised a “cheap energy shock” with the end of the sector’s monopoly.
According to the state-owned company, the adjustment reflects the application of the formulas of the supply contract, which link the price to the price of oil and the exchange rate. For the May readjustment, changes during the first quarter of the year are considered.
“During this period, oil rose 38%, following the upward trend of global commodities. In addition, domestic commodity prices rose due to the devaluation of the real,” the company said in a statement.
In addition, the text adds, there was an increase in the portion of the price that corresponds to the transportation of fuel, which is defined by tariffs regulated by the ANP (National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels) and is readjusted by the IGP-M, inflation index with strong weight of the exchange rate.
Throughout 2020, Petrobras said, the price of natural gas dropped by 35% in reais, reflecting the drop in international prices after the start of the pandemic. As with other fuels, however, the values started to rise in the second half.
In the statement distributed on Monday, Petrobras also stressed that the final price paid by the consumer also includes other installments, such as the margins of piped gas distributors and resale stations (in the case of vehicular natural gas) and federal and state taxes.
The transfer to the consumer depends on the legislation of each state. In some cases, the contracts provide for automatic readjustment. In others, the adjustment is made in tariff reviews approved by the state regulatory agency.
In São Paulo, for example, the next readjustment is scheduled for May 31. In Rio, the transfers of fuel variations are automatic, but the state regulatory agency suspended the last high, in November 2020, claiming that it would further harm consumers in the midst of the pandemic.
In the early afternoon, Abegás (Brazilian Association of Pipeline Gas Distribution Companies) issued a statement saying that the price charged by Petrobras and the transportation tariff represent 59% of the final amount charged to the consumer and that the elevations are transferred to the consumer without generate gains for companies.
“The increases in the price of natural gas do not bring benefits to the distributors. On the contrary, they end up taking away the competitiveness of natural gas in relation to other sources of energy such as gasoline, fuel oil, LPG (cylinder gas) and electricity”, says the text.
The margins of state concessionaires, he adds, represent 17% of the final price. “With this percentage, they carry out the maintenance of assets, investments in network expansion and are remunerated for the provision of piped natural gas distribution services”, says Abegás.
“Abegás understands consumers’ discomfort with significant increases such as what will occur in May and, to combat this, it has advocated greater competition in the supply of natural gas and greater investments in the transport segment and in the entire gas infrastructure”, continues the entity.
The government and large consumers are betting that the approval of the new regulatory framework for the sector may attract new investors and promote competition in the supply of gas, now almost entirely dominated by Petrobras. The expectation is that competition will help to reduce fuel prices.
To foster competition, the state-owned company has been disposing of natural gas transportation and distribution assets. The company has already sold two of the country’s three major gas pipeline networks and is negotiating its stake in Gaspetro, a company that has stakes in state piped gas distributors.
Get the latest news delivered to your inbox
Follow us on social media networks