* South American nation expects to buy up to 83 cargoes
* LNG imports estimated at 56 cargoes in 2012
BUENOS AIRES, Dec 6 Argentina will buy as many
as 83 cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2013, rising to
a record on expectations for brisker economic growth, a source
at state energy company Enarsa said on Thursday.
The South American country originally planned to import 80
cargoes this year, but slower economic growth and increased
supplies of piped natural gas from Bolivia reduced the original
forecast to 56 cargoes.
"At the moment, there are going to be 83, but this year we
expected something similar. When there was less demand and more
gas being sent from Bolivia ... we ended up asking for 30
percent less than we'd anticipated," the source said, asking not
to be identified.
The source said the date for tenders to be opened had not
yet been set and that 35 of the planned cargoes would be handled
by the Escobar import terminal and the remaining 48 by the Bahia
Blanca regasification plant.
Latin America's No. 3 economy, which has seen its energy
bills spike in recent years due to surging demand and stagnant
domestic production, is showing signs of recovering from a sharp
slowdown earlier this year.
The energy shortfall prompted President Cristina Fernandez
to nationalize the country's largest energy company YPF
earlier this year.