Protests Suspend Maintenance, Gas Restrictions Extended

Maintenance work on the Canadon Alfa field in Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province was suspended on February 24, extending the duration of gas cuts to Chile's region XII, the latter country's energy regulator CNE said in a statement.

The works were suspended due to security concerns as a result of union protests related to salary issues.

As a result of the protests and suspended maintenance, which had been schedule to conclude March 1, already-restricted gas exports will be limited even further.

Cuts will not affect residential use or power supply, both of which are supplied by gas from Chilean state oil company Enap's operations in region XII.

But restrictions could affect Canadian methanol producer Methanex, local press reported region XII mining secretary Mario Maturana as saying.

Methanex downplayed the impact. "To date the situation is what we expected since Tierra del Fuego supply already was restricted from the maintenance," a company spokesperson told BNamericas.

The relationship between Argentina and Chile has been strained by gas export restrictions that started in 2004.

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