February 16, 2016 / 2:06 AM / 3 years ago

Peru LNG exports halted in past month after pipeline leak

LIMA, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Peruvian exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), usually nearly 1 million cubic meters per month, have stopped entirely since mid-January when a key pipeline was ruptured, official data showed Monday.

The Andean country will likely resume its usual half dozen shipments of between 130,000 and 170,000 cubic meters per month in coming days, said a source with the consortium that produces the gas, led by Argentine energy company Pluspetrol.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the pipeline leak first stopped exports. Maintenance work at a liquefaction plant later delayed shipments after the pipeline was repaired, the source said.

Peru is one of Latin America’s biggest LNG exporters and mostly ships LNG to Manzanillo, Mexico.

Its last shipment went to Spain on Jan. 16, just before Transportadora de Gas del Peru SA (TgP) reported a new leak in its 560-kilometer natural gas liquids pipeline, data from state energy regulator Perupetro showed.

Representatives of Royal Dutch Shell, the company that exports the LNG, and PERU LNG, the consortium that operates the liquefaction plant, could not immediately comment. PERU LNG is controlled by Hunt Oil Co with Shell, SK Corporation and Marubeni holding minority stakes.

Last year a leak in the same pipeline forced the government to import liquefied petroleum gas, a fuel made from natural gas and used widely in homes and cars.

TgP said on Feb. 2 that the pipeline, which stretches from the Amazon to the Pacific coast, had been fixed and causes of the leak were under investigation.

TgP did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

The energy and mines ministry and state energy regulator Perupetro also did not provide comment.

The source, who works for the Pluspetrol-led consortium that drills for gas in Peru’s abundant Camisea fields, said the company declared force majeure in January.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by Dan Grebler

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