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Chile's Tiny Gas Industry a Big Problem for President Sebastián Piñera

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12221

Chile's Tiny Gas Industry a Big Problem for President Sebastián Piñera

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Title: Chile's Tiny Gas Industry a Big Problem for President Sebastián Piñera
Author: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar
Subject(s): natural gas
energy
policy
Empresa Nacional del Petroleo
ENAP
Magallanes
Region XIII
Argentina
Punta Arenas
subsidies
consumption ceiling
Gasco Magallanes
monopoly
Ricardo Raineri
sustainable
Asamblea Ciudadana de Magallanes
Torres del Paine National Park
tourist destination
Methanex
Golborne
Abstract: Although it represents just a small slice of the country’s overall energy pie, Chile’s minor Patagonia-based natural-gas industry is causing major political problems for first-year President Sebastián Piñera. An anomaly in Chile’s otherwise privatized energy sector, the state-owned Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP) extracts a modest amount of natural gas from oil fields it controls in Magallanes, an area of southern Patagonia also known as Region XIII. The homegrown industry is an exception in Chile, which satisfies the bulk of its fuel needs with foreign imports. In the country’s more populous central regions, natural gas--used not only for heating and cooking but also for electricity production--comes from overseas in liquid form or through pipelines from Argentina, which has drastically reduced gas exports to Chile in recent years. But while the small domestic-gas industry may be of little benefit to the bulk of Chile’s 16 million residents, most of whom are crowded in the country’s central regions, it has proven to be a real blessing for the estimated 160,000 southerners who call frigid Magallanes home.
Date: 2011-02-24
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12221

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