Low fuel prices offset hydro decline for Chile's Colbún

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lower prices for natural gas and diesel more than offset a decline in hydroelectric output for Chilean power generator Colbún in the third quarter.

Net income grew to US$75.7mn from US$18.2mn, largely because of a reduction in operating costs for thermal plants to US$62/MWh from US$110/MWh, the company said in a statement.

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Gas-fired generation increased 64% for the company during the quarter, during which Colbún secured natural gas supply contracts for 2016-19 from national oil company Enap and pipeline operator Metrogas.

Colbún was also awarded a slice of the 5Mm3/d capacity expansion planned for the Quintero LNG import terminal through a tender launched by the JV that controls the terminal, GNL Quintero.

Quintero's regasification capacity will be expanded to 20Mm3/d from 15Mm3/d currently. Once the expansion is complete, Colbún will be able to access global LNG markets directly.

Colbún attributed the 8% decline in hydroelectric generation to a delayed start to the rainy season in the Maule and Biobío river basins.

Colbún's installed generating capacity stands at nearly 3.3GW, with hydroelectric and thermal plants each comprising about half of the total.

Colbún said it plans to re-submit the 160-170MW San Pedro hydroelectric project to environmental authority SEA, which rejected a series of modifications to the project's design proposed by Colbún.

Colbún proposed the modifications after geological studies found deficiencies in the original design.

Colbún declined to give a construction start date for the 350MW second unit of its Santa María coal-fired power station, a project for which Colbún has secured environmental approval.