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Does Argentina have enough gas?

July 25, 2007

One of the oddest stories that I’ve encountered while in Argentina is an announcement on July 18 by the government to build by next year 1.5GW of of new gas-fired power generation capacity. The cost of this grandiose project is 3.25 billion pesos ($1.05 billion)

Certainly industry, which is suffering from daily power rationing from 4PM to midnight, applauded the measure. 

But there are many questions that abound concerning the latest government plan to come to grips with ever-growing gas-energy shortages.

One of the biggest questions is if gas-strapped Argentina has sufficient gas to fuel the new plants, which are single cycle installations that will be later upgraded through a new tender to combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT).

Another  important question is if Argentina can build in one year so much installed capacity. Some are highly sceptical. Let’s not forget Argentine red tape.

I was surprised by a statement by the government and in the local media that quoted Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido saying that the new generating capacity amounts to 1.6GW.

If you add the 7 turbines you come up with 1.5GW. The latter sum is stated in decree 938/2007.  

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