15.05.2008 - Excelerate loads first LNG cargo to Argentina

Argentina's first LNG cargo has been loaded and is on its way to the country's new import facility.

The 138,120-cbm LNG regasification vessel (RV) Excellence (built 2005) is understood to have loaded a cargo in Trinidad this month.

Excelerate president and chief executive Rob Bryngelson says the company completed a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer from the Excellence to its 138,087-cbm sistership Excelsior (built 2005) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bryngelson adds that the Excelsior is now heading to South America. However, he does not reveal the ship's final destination and says that at present he cannot give any further details.

In March, Bryngelson said Excelerate was expecting to move ahead "any day now" on a South American project that would involve transferring cargoes using dockside STS transfers.

Industry players add that the company is working with Argentine utility Enarsa on an import project in the Bahia Blanca area. Dockside kit for the project has been ordered.

Enarsa has been keeping its new LNG-import project under wraps unlike its near neighbour, Brazilian oil-and-gas giant Petrobras, which has conducted open tenders.

Enarsa sources are quoted as saying contracts have been signed to assure a supply of LNG up to September. Initial supply would come from Repsol's volumes in Trinidad at prices ranging from $13 to $16 per MMBtu.

Argentina is seeking LNG imports as a quick-fix to energy shortages that have seen the country virtually cut off long-term contracted pipeline-gas supply to near neighbour Chile.

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