Chile Says Energy Investments Safe from Crisis

Source:

"I think the energy sector is the only one that, despite the crisis, will maintain a relevant level of investments."

Billions of dollars in private sector investment that Chile hopes will help it become energy-independent are safe from a deepening global crisis, the government said on Tuesday.

Large energy companies are planning to start work on projects worth some $21 billion in total investments in Chile this year, and construction has already begun on projects comprising $7.7 billion of that, Energy Minister Marcelo Tokman said after a meeting with 13 companies from the sector and Finance Minister Andres Velasco.

He said the investments will fund building projects from power plants to transmission lines and storage facilities to fuel transport facilities at ports.

Chile is striding toward energy independence as it builds new generating and transmission capacity after years at the mercy of droughts that curtailed its hydro-generating capacity and limited natural gas supplies from Argentina to supply generators in the northern mining region.

"I think the energy sector is the only one that despite the crisis will maintain a relevant level of investments," said Bernardo Larrain, chief executive of Colbun, Chile's No. 2 power-generating company.

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