Argentina Plans Exporting Natural Gas To Chile By End of 2018

Natural Gas pipeline.

Credit: Glen Dillon / CC BY 3.0

Argentina is all set to export natural gas to its neighbouring country, Chile, before the end of 2018. The development was reiterated by the energy ministers of both the countries recently, in the backdrop of the output from the Vaca Muerta shale field increasing. Meanwhile, Minister of Energy, Argentina, Juan Jose Aranguren, stated that it was probable that they would continue to import regasified LNG from Chile in the winter to meet its peak demand.

The two countries had reportedly agreed upon and signed deals previously, allowing the export of gas or electricity in emergency situations. However, there was a requirement that an equivalent amount should be re-imported within 12 months.

In this context, Minister of Energy, Chile, Susana Jimenez said in an interview in Bariloche, Argentina at the G20 Meeting of Energy Ministers, that the Chilean companies were in talks to sign import deals and the first flow of gas across the Andes would probably come by October or November 2018.

Jimenez said that they saw a great opportunity for mutual benefit, and added that the gas could come from the Neuquen basin, which was home to Vaca Muerta, as well as the Austral basin in southern Argentina.

Chile was reportedly a significant buyer of Argentine gas supplies in the 1990s, after a brief production decline in Argentina, the latter’s production is said to have recovered to 122 mcm per day. Meanwhile, Argentina is considered the world’s No. 2 in shale gas reserves but is still a net energy importer. With the rising output from Vaca Muerta, the country’s export could rise more than its imports by 2021.

And, Argentinean President Mauricio Macri has reportedly sought to loosen labour rules and boost infrastructure to attract investment. It is reported that the country is poised to import around 50 cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2018. Meanwhile, Aranguren said that their goal was to produce 140 million cu m/d.

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