Oil Report

Chile Mejillones LNG plant to sell energy in May

MEJILLONES, Chile, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Chile’s Mejillones liquified natural gas terminal plans to start commercial operations in May to help supply energy to key mines, the head of the controlling energy company said on Wednesday.

The terminal, which is a joint venture between Chilean state copper miner Codelco and GDF Suez GSZ.PA, received its first cargo from Trinidad on Wednesday which will be used for testing before commercial operations.

The terminal’s chief, Frederik Janssens, said the terminal will receive another tanker in May to initiate energy sales.

Janssens said initial operations will help supply energy to several mines like Escondida, the world's biggest copper deposit, which is owned by BHP Billiton BHP.AXBLT.L, El Abra, Collahuasi, and a joint interest between Anglo American AAL.L and Xstrata XTA.L. It would also feed Codelco mines in the mineral rich Atacama desert.

Gas-short Chile, hoping for greater energy supply security, has already built one LNG terminal, at Quintero in the center of the country, which received its first cargo in July last year. Seaborne imports to the two terminals will supplement pipeline gas imports from Argentina which have fallen in recent years. (Writing by Alonso Soto; Editing by Jim Marshall)