SANTIAGO, July 15 Chile's state oil company ENAP
said on Tuesday it would start using U.S. shale gas
during the first half of 2016 via an ongoing supply contract
with Britain's BG Group Plc.
Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco was quoted by local media
last week as saying that ENAP had signed a long-term deal with
Centrica-owned British Gas, Britain's largest energy
supplier, to import shale gas from the United States at the end
of next year.
ENAP, in a statement on Tuesday, specified that it is oil
and gas firm BG Group that "will be in conditions to
supply the fuel once the (U.S. LNG) Sabine Pass terminal starts
operating at the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016."
The company said a potential future arrival of U.S. shale
gas could diversify Chile's liquefied natural gas supplies and
added that it can be imported without tariffs, thanks to the
free trade agreement between the two countries.
BG Group has long-running LNG contracts with the
Andean country's Endesa Chile, local natural gas distributor
Metrogas and ENAP.
A surge in shale gas production in the United States is
transforming the global energy market. Once a regular LNG
importer, the United States is now set to export significant
volumes by the end of the decade. Chile, the leading copper
producer, has long viewed gas as a way to alleviate a looming
(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer;
Editing by Dan Grebler)