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Peru LNG plant's operations, exports suspended due to pipeline burst -source

LIMA, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Operations have been suspended at Peru’s sole liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant because of a lack of supply caused by a Feb. 3 pipeline rupture, choking off exports, a source at the consortium that operates the plant said on Wednesday.

The pipeline, which transports fuel from the Camisea gas fields in the Peruvian jungle to the Pacific Coast, burst because of a landslide amid heavy rains in the Cusco region, according to a Feb. 3 statement by pipeline operator Transportadora de Gas de Peru SA.

A source at Peru LNG - the consortium that operates Peru’s LNG plant consisting of South Korea’s SK, the United States’ Hunt Oil and Japan’s Marubeni Corp - said the plant was not operating due to a lack of supply as a result of the pipeline rupture.

“We are hoping that supply resumes soon,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Probably, in February we will only have three shipments.”

Government data show no natural gas shipment has left Peru since Feb. 5, when the Barcelona Knutsen left the Pampa Melchorita export terminal for Spain carrying 115,521 cubic metres of LNG. Normally, the Peru LNG consortium exports five or six shipments of about 150,000 cubic metres each a month.

A spokesman for Transportadora de Gas de Peru said repair work on the pipeline was “very advanced” and estimated that shipments to the Peru LNG’s plant on the coast could resume by the end of the week.

The Camisea fields, which form Peru’s largest natural gas reserves, are operated by Argentine oil company Pluspetrol. The pipelines that transport the output have suffered various bursts and spills since operations began in 2004. (Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Peter Cooney)