UPDATE 2-Chile plans new LNG terminal to ease power crunch

jueves 15 de mayo de 2014 13:56 GYT

(Adds industry comments, detail, context)

By Alexandra Ulmer

SANTIAGO May 15 (Reuters) - President Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday that Chile would build a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and strengthen the state-run oil company as she set out her $650 million energy policy that seeks to deal with a mounting power crunch.

An LNG terminal would be built in the central-south region of the mining powerhouse, she announced. It would be Chile's third, alongside the already running Mejillones in the mineral-rich north and centrally-located Quintero, which is set to also be expanded.

"We want more LNG in electricity generation, with greater availability of regasification terminals," Bachelet said.

Power projects in Chile have increasingly faced strong public opposition on health and environmental grounds, often winding up entangled in regulatory limbo.

Center-left Bachelet, who took power in March, has spoken in favor of gas as part of a quick, substantial and environmentally acceptable solution to the stalemate. She is also keen to expand the use of renewable energy.

The push towards LNG has been further bolstered by a surge in shale gas production in the United States that is transforming the global energy market.

State oil company Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP) would participate in the construction of the new LNG terminal, and the energy plan included an extra $400 million to bolster the debt-plagued firm.   Continuación...