Chile, Argentina conduct first gas swap
Buenos Aires, 30 October (Argus) — Chile and Argentina conducted a first-ever swap of pipeline natural gas, opening the way for more efficiency in the southern cone gas market.
Argentina's state-owned Enarsa delivered 2mn m3 of pipeline gas to Chile this weekend to cover part of the demand in central and southern Chile during maintenance at Chile's Quintero LNG terminal.
Under the swap agreement, Chile's state-owned Enap committed to return the same volume back to Argentina within 48 hours.
The swap took place along the 9mn m3/d GasAndes pipeline.
During Quintero terminal maintenance, customers normally take supply from line pack in the GasAndes and Electrogas pipelines. This time, the supply gap was covered by Argentina, allowing the parties to test the physical, commercial and permitting aspects of a swap with an eye toward more extensive exchanges in the future.
The new swap followed Argentina's 60-day authorization late last week to export gas to Chile during emergencies, laying the groundwork for exchanges to accommodate different seasonal and regional needs across their lengthy shared border.
Enarsa was authorized to supply a maximum of 3.5mn m3/d to Chile through Enap.
"Enarsa must reimport natural gas volumes that are equivalent to those exported … within 30 days from the day of delivery to the buyer," notes the resolution signed by Argentina's energy minister Juan José Aranguren.
Argentina had been a steady gas exporter to Chile from the late 1990s to 2004, when the government in Buenos Aires started prioritizing the domestic market amid falling domestic production. A few years later, both countries started importing LNG.
During the last two southern hemisphere winters, Chile exported regasified LNG to its neighbor through pipelines that used to deliver Argentinian gas to Chile.