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Argentina cuts domestic logistics costs for LNG imports

Argentina has reduced costs on tug boat and related services for importing liquefied natural gas, for a savings of $10 million a year, the Energy Ministry said.

The ministry said it worked with the Transport Ministry to negotiate lower costs for bringing in LNG tankers to floating regasification terminals in Bahia Blanca and Escobar, and for custody services in the latter port, according to a statement Sunday.

It said the savings 0f 30% to 36% compared with previous years are based on importing 90 tankers of LNG, as is planned for this year.

The ministry said it is "reducing costs and cost overruns that impact the competitiveness of domestic logistics," helping to provide "significant savings in energy imports."

Argentina has been ramping up gas imports over the past decade to meet a swelling domestic deficit.

The country is importing supplies this year to meet a third of its 130-180 million cu m/d demand, even as production has recovered 6.6% to 121.2 million cu m/d from a 10-year low of 113.7 million cu m/d in 2014.

Of the imports, 15-20 million cu m/d are coming by pipeline from Bolivia, another 25 million cu m/d as LNG and 5 million cu m/d from regasification plants in Chile.

Argentina's conservative president, Mauricio Macri, has been trying to cut energy import costs since taking office in December, saying poor planning and corruption under the previous populist-left administration inflated the costs.

Macri has set a goal of weaning the country off LNG imports by 2021-22 by ramping up of domestic production. He has more than doubled wellhead gas prices to $5.20/MMBtu to encourage fresh exploration and production, nearly in line with LNG import costs averaging $6.50/MMBtu this year.

Time: 2016-7-27 Click: 20
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