Air Quality — 08 July 2014

8 July 2014. Santiago, Chile

El Mercurio reported that the Chilean Minister of Energy Maximo Pacheco said that the USA will start exporting liquid natural gas to Chile by the end of 2015 from the Sabina Pass natural gas export facility in Louisiana. British Gas and ENAP, a Chilean energy country, have sign a long-term contract for that.  The gas will be shipped to the two LNG terminals currently operating in Chile: at Quintero and Mejillones.

Reuters quoted the Minster as saying, “Among the first gas shipments to leave from that port will be gas destined for Chile.”

Minister Pacheco said, “We had the opportunity to visit the states of Arkansas and Texas because without a doubt the most important revolution in the USA today is the energy revolution.”

Sabina Pass is the first natural gas export facility in the USA to come online.  Only 5 years ago the USA was looking to import natural gas.  Now there is a boom in the production of natural gas in America because of  discovery of hydraulic fracking, which has released previously unreachable reserves of shale gas and oil deep below the ground.

As we reported last week, Minister Pacheco and Chilean energy executives traveled to the USA along with President Bachelet to meet with President Obama and attend various seminars and discussions. There, the USA and Chile signed a long-term energy agreement.

The government of Chile has said that it wants to add more natural gas to its mix of energies. The country is highly dependent on coal imports for energy production an has no oil or natural gas of its own.  Chile has the highest cost for electricity in Latin America, so needs to find ways to lower to the price for that and meeting the growing demand of the copper mining industry for more electricity.

Currently coal costs less than natural gas for copper smelter operations and thermoelectric energy production.  Replacing coal with natural gas will reduce sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions.  The government has not specifically said toward which goal this new source of fuel will be applied.

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