Argentina expected to send draft bill promoting LNG to Congress

(Reuters)—Oil and gas producers in Argentina expect the government will send draft legislation for promoting liquefied natural gas (LNG) production to Congress in the coming weeks, the chief executive of state-controlled oil company YPF, Pablo Iuliano, said on Wednesday.

Argentina sits on one of the world's largest shale gas reserves, but the cash-strapped country is forced to import much of the fuel it uses to generate electricity. Its energy deficit last year was estimated at some $5 B.

The proposed legislation, which had been expected to be debated by lawmakers earlier this year, would encourage construction of LNG plants and related pipeline infrastructure.

"We see that law as a very good first step (to create) conditions in the future for other businesses," said Iuliano, speaking at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on Wednesday. "It's absolutely necessary."

The law is expected to include measures to secure fiscal stability, access to currency markets and permits for companies to be able to invest in long-term gas and LNG projects, he said.

(Reporting by Marianna Parraga)


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