Chile criticizes Argentina for cutting supplies of natural gas

Apr 07, 2004 02:00 AM

Chilean President Ricardo Lagos reiterated his criticism of Argentina for cutting natural-gas sales to his country and urged his trans-Andean neighbours to fulfil their contractual obligations.
Chile's Foreign Ministry sent a letter to President Nestor Kirchner's administration expressing dissatisfaction with Argentina's rationing of gas sales and failure to honour its contracts with Chile. Due to an internal supply crisis, Argentina cut natural-gas shipments to Chile by 3.3 mm cm (some 1.5 mm cf) a day, down from roughly 14 mm cm (493 mm cf) per day.

Questioned regarding the diplomatic complaint, Lagos said its contents are private, but volunteered, "We understand the problems President Kirchner could have coping with (Argentina's) gas crisis, but that's his problem, not ours."
"We're asking them to fulfil their contracts," the Chilean leader emphasized.

The cut represents more than 20 % of the gas Chile buys from its neighbour, on which it depends for 90 % of its annual consumption of the fuel.
Santiago is especially upset at the Kirchner administration's failure to provide sufficient information on the gas issue, especially with regard to the magnitude and duration of the cuts, as Chile needs to make plans to address shortages, given that the country relies on natural gas to generate 25 % of its electric power.

Source: EFE
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