Argentina prepares legislation to encourage and safeguard huge investments in LNG export plants

Friday, 25 November 2022
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Argentina said it was prepared to follow through with a pledge to remove investment uncertainties for foreign energy companies, especially in the construction of liquefaction natural gas export plants as the South American nation moves to develop its huge shale-gas reserves.

International companies including US majors see huge potential for Argentina from feed-gas brought to the coast from the huge Vaca Muerta shale basin containing one of the world's largest unconventional gas reserve.

Economy Minister Sergio Massa said in a speech to business leaders that the Government in Buenos Aires was preparing an LNG investment bill to send to Congress.

The Minister was accompanied at the event by the Secretary of Industry and Productive Development José de Mendiguren and the Secretary of Energy Flavia Royon,

Also present was Pablo González, President of Argentine state energy company Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF), which has various LNG development and shale gas and oil projects planned and had previously overseen the nation’s small-scale trial in LNG exports.

“If one looks at the reports of the most prestigious analysts in the energy sector, they envisage that in the next few years we are not only going to stop being importers of our energy, we are going to be a big player with our product,” declared Minister Massa

Protections

Massa said he hoped Congress would discuss the LNG Bill in the coming sessions. He stated that the Bill on investments in LNG plants was necessary to help the nation monetize its huge reserves and become a net energy exporter as import costs rise.

The Minister admitted that the consequences of the war in Ukraine had been having a big impact on Argentina’s energy import costs for all fuels and fertilizers.

“This final result of the year on the impact of the war shows us a negative balance of between US$3.70billion according to the IMF and US$5.20Bln, according to Argentina,” said Massa.

He said that Argentina must honour its commercial commitments just as the counter-parties must honour theirs.

Argentina has previously had the “Tango FLNG” production vessel at the Bahai Blanca port in Argentina to briefly be an LNG exporter.

The “FLNG Tango” vessel formally started its operations in Argentina in mid-2019 and a 10-year charter term began in September 2019 with Belgian shipping company Exmar.

The winter season then started in the Southern Hemisphere and liquefaction activities were stopped by YPF in May 2020.

Exmar first announced a YPF “force majeure” for the vessel on June 25, 2020, amid a dispute over various issues and the vessel departed.

“We need a great national agreement which in the next 30 years would bring core values ​​such as fiscal balance, competitiveness, accumulation of reserves and economic development with inclusion,” stated Massa.

The minister highlighted various possibilities whereby citizens and businesses had to advance with new measures that have “a full impact on the energy field and the knowledge economy” in Argentina.

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