Peru inaugurates a liquified natural gas plant south of Lima

Peru became the 18th country in the world with a natural gas liquification plant on Thursday after inaugurating the Melchorita plant in Cañete, on the coast about 170km south of Lima, RPP radio station reported.

Melchorita, the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in South America, is owned by Peru LNG, the consortium that invested $3.8 billion in the project, the largest spent on a single project in the Peru’s history, the consortium said in a release.

Peru LNG is 50 percent-controlled by US-based Hunt Oil. SK Energy of Korea and Repsol of Spain both have a 20 percent interest in the consortium, and Marubeni Corporation of Japan holds the remainder.

“Of the 192 United Nation member states, only 17 have been able to develop their own LNG project,” said Ray Hunt, the president of Hunt Oil. “With the inauguration of the Peru LNG project, Peru will join this select list.”

A purification and cooling process at the plant will produce LNG by reducing the gas volume by 600 times. The plant will have a capacity to produce 4.4 million tons of per year, according to the statement.

The project will turn Peru into a net exporter of natural gas, which has concerned regional governments in southern Peru who are worried that it may affect the local supply.

However President Alan García has denied natural gas export contracts will affect the Peru’s growing internal demand.

The project has been financed by national and international entities, including the Inter American Development Bank, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

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