Argentina gas exports boom, Chile fixed squarely in crosshairs

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, October 19, 2022

September saw exports of Argentine gas to Chile continue to grow in the triple digits, while the federal energy department published five export-authorization requests in the month, down from seven in August.

In line with an established trend, Argentine exporters are laser-focused on Chile, chiefly via the GasAndes duct. The pipeline connects the Vaca Muerta shale play with Santiago metropolitan region.

Exports to Chile via the pipeline climbed 552% year-on-year to 6.46Mm3/d (million cubic meters per day) in September, compared with almost 800% in August, according to data from gas regulator Enargas. Nameplate capacity of GasAndes is 10.5Mm3/d but actual capacity is around 5Mm3/d in winter and 9Mm3/d in summer on account of available capacity of feeder infrastructure operated by midstream concessionaire TGN.

A duct stakeholder recently said a compression project to boost nameplate capacity to 17Mm3/d was being mulled. Securing offtakers in Santiago is a key part of the jigsaw puzzle. 

Chile is obtaining roughly 300,000m3/d of natural gas from Argentina via the standalone Gasoducto del Pacífico on a firm basis as part of a wider energy integration drive. The deal is significant as firm export contracts had been limited to the warmer months after Argentina turned off the taps in 2006. Gasoducto del Pacífico runs between Neuquén basin field Loma de la Lata and south-central Chilean region Biobío. Argentine piped 350,000m3/d via the duct in September.

Overall Argentine gas exports were 7.10Mm3/d in September, with dispatches to Uruguay accounting for the balance and climbing 19% year-on-year. 

No exports to Brazil – which sometimes imports Argentine gas to feed a border thermoelectric power station – were registered for the month.

Favorable prices and domestic transport restrictions, along with a push to build firm, year-round exports, are making Chile blink brightly on the radars of Argentine producers, chiefly those operating in the Vaca Muerta unconventionals formation. 

An improvement in hydrological conditions in Argentina, supporting stronger hydroelectric output, along with gas production growth has made Chile an attractive outlet for surplus production in recent months. 

Gas production in Argentina was 141Mm3/d in August, up 5.6% year-on-year, according to data from think tank the General Mosconi energy institute. Unconventional gas – shale and tight – accounted for 80.2Mm3/d, up 18.0%.


YPF – Argentina’s state oil company – was among those whose export requests were published in September. The request involves exporting gas from areas El Portón and Loma de la Lata-Sierra Barrosa.

Another published request that month corresponded to Total Austral, which sought the green light to pipe gas from Neuquén province areas San Roque, Aguada Pichana Este, Aguada Pichana Oeste and Rincón la Ceniza.


Vendor: YPF
Innergy Soluciones Energéticas 
Maximum amount:
Quantities ranging from 16,000m3/d to 160,000m3/d, from October 1, 2022 to May 1, 2023 (firm basis)
Source: El Portón and Loma de la Lata-Sierra Barrosa

Vendor: Total Austral
Buyer: GM Holding
Maximum amount:
2Mm3/d from date of authorization to January 1, 2025 (interruptible basis)
Source: San Roque, Aguada Pichana Este, Aguada Pichana Oeste and Rincón la Ceniza.

Vendor: Pluspetrol
Buyer: Enel Generación Chile
Maximum amount: 1Mm3/d, from date of authorization to September 30, 2023 (interruptible basis)
Source: La Calera y Centenario Centro

Vendor: Mobil Argentina
Buyer: Cinergia Chile
Maximum amount: 250,000m3/d, from date of authorization to August 1, 2023 (interruptible basis)
Source: Sierra Chata

Vendor: Compañía Inversora de Energía
Buyer: Cinergia Chile
Maximum amount: 610,000m3/d, from date of authorization to January 1, 2025 (interruptible basis)
Source: La Calera, La Escalonada, Rincón la Ceniza, Bajo del Choique, Los Toldos I Sur, Sierras Blancas, Cruz de Lorena, Coirón Amargo Sur Oeste, Parva Negra Este, Al Sur de la Dorsal, Area Río Neuquén, Centenario. 

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