GDF Suez to Operate Uruguay’s First Plant to Import Natural Gas

GDF Suez (GSZ), France’s biggest supplier of natural gas, agreed to operate a floating liquefied natural gas import terminal in Uruguay.

The platform, which will be the South American nation’s first, is scheduled to start operating in 2015 and GDF will operate it for the Uruguay government, according to a statement from GDF Suez today. The plant will have a storage capacity of 263,000 cubic meters of gas, and will be built by Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd.

The tender process for the LNG plant started last year, as Uruguay, which doesn’t produce oil or gas, seeks to cut its dependency on gas shipments from Argentina.

Uruguay has started opening tenders for offshore oil exploration in 2010, with companies including Petroleo Brasileiro SA, YPF SA and Galp Energia SGPS SA winning exploration licenses. Total SA, BG Group Plc, Tullow Oil Plc and BP Group Plc were awarded contracts last year in a second tender.

Signing the agreement with GDF is a “landmark in Uruguay’s energy strategy as it will allow to reduce energy costs and vulnerabilities,” Industry Minister Roberto Kreimerman told reporters in Montevideo today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Rio de Janeiro at rorihuela@bloomberg.net; Lucia Baldomir in Montevideo at lbaldomir@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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