Bachelet, Kirchner to Discuss Gas Exports Tuesday

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet will discuss natural gas exports with her Argentine counterpart Nestor Kirchner in Buenos Aires this week as part of her first international visit as head of state, Chile's government said in a statement.

Bachelet will arrive in Buenos Aires on Tuesday with hopes of convincing Kirchner to guarantee gas supplies for a minimum of five years, local paper Ambito Financiero reported.

Chile's mines and energy minister Karen Poniachik will meet with Argentine federal planning minister Julio De Vido to discuss how to minimize gas supply cuts and renew gas supply contracts, local paper El Mercurio reported.

Chile, which imports all of its natural gas from Argentina, has suffered from Argentine gas supply restrictions in the last few years, forcing Chilean power generators and other industries to use alternative fuels.

Bachelet will also visit Uruguay's President Tabare Vasquez following her trip to Argentina.

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