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NEWS: Chile seeks BC fracked gas for its mining and desalination projects

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was in Ottawa this past week for talks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The Globe and Mail reports, “Chile wants to buy Canadian liquefied natural gas to feed its energy-hungry mining industry… Chile is particularly short of power in its northern regions, where much of the mining sector is centred, and it also needs vast amounts of energy to use in the desalination of water, which is also in short supply in the north. …Mr. Pinera is looking to Canada as a potential source of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and has discussed with Prime Minister Stephen Harper the possibility of importing the fuel by ship. …There are several pipeline projects planned to take natural gas to ports in British Columbia, and the Liberal provincial government has been enthusiastic about the prospects for the industry. …If Canada can get LNG to ports in Vancouver, Chile would be a natural buyer, Mr. Pinera said…”

It is possible that the Chilean market could be served by the Pacific Trails pipeline. This pipeline would transport approximately 1,000 million cubic feet per day of unconventional gas from fracking operations in the Liard Basin and Horn River Basin in north-eastern BC to a terminal in Kitimat on the coast where the gas would be liquefied and shipped on supertankers. Chevron owns a 50 per cent stake in the $1 billion pipeline. The Unist’ot’en Camp has been set up as a resistance community on the pathway of the Pacific Trails pipeline as a way to protect the sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en territory. Pipeline construction is scheduled to begin in 2013-2014, with the pipeline to be operational by winter 2015. It is also possible that it come from the Montney shale gas fields near Dawson Creek in north-eastern BC and a pipeline that would take that gas to a bigger Liquefied Natural Gas export facility on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert. A final investment decision on this play is expected in late 2014, followed by the first LNG exports in 2018.

Canada is the third-largest foreign investor in Chile and in 1997 the two countries entered a ‘free-trade’ agreement. Last April, the two countries signed an expanded Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement that includes an amended financial services chapter, and updated chapters on dispute settlement, customs procedures and government procurement. Chile and Canada are also members of the Trans Pacific Partnership, the ‘next generation free trade’ agreement currently being negotiated. And Chile is also part of the Pacific Alliance ‘free trade’ bloc talks that the Harper government is now considering joining.

Pinera is near the end of his three-year term as president and there will be elections in Chile in November 2014.

More to come.

For more, please read:
UPDATE: Clark’s win in BC means more fracking
NEWS: Chilean court halts Pascua Lama mine
NEWS: Harper announces ‘expanded’ Canada-Chile FTA
NEWS: Another major dam with mining ties approved in Chile
NEWS: Major investor in HidroAysen projects in Patagonia pulls back
NEWS: New CEO named to OTPP-owned water utility in Chile
UPDATE: Council launches ‘Conflicts Over Water in Chile’ report