Argentina & Russia to boost energy ties – Kirchner

Argentina & Russia to boost energy ties – Kirchner
Buenos Aires and Moscow are committed to strengthening energy cooperation, the President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner told RT, after speaking with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

The two presidents held a video conference to mark 130 years of diplomatic relations between their countries.

"Yesterday we spoke about oil energy activity, which we will maintain actively, jobs, drilling, and investment," Kirchner said.

She pointed to joint projects that Russia and Argentina are working on, such as the Chihuido-1 hydroelectric and Atucha nuclear power plants, as well as associations between energy companies.

"We expect and we aspire to reach good cooperation, because I believe this is very important,” the Argentinian president added.

Russia and Argentina announced a renewed energy pact in April during Kirchner’s visit to Moscow.  President Putin then disclosed plans to invest $2 billion in Argentinian nuclear power plants, while Russia's Gazprom has signed a deal to explore oil and gas fields in the country, in a project worth another $1 billion.

The countries are negotiating several other major projects. Particularly, Russia’s state nuclear energy company, Rosatom, said it will provide funds to build a sixth reactor at the Atucha nuclear power plant near Buenos Aires.

A letter of intent has been signed by Russia’s Inter RAO Group for the construction of the Chihuido-1 hydroelectric power plant on the Neuquen River. The project is expected to cost $2 billion, with Russia’s VEB bank to invest $1.2 billion. The power station will have a capacity of 637 megawatts. Construction of the Chihuido-2 plant with a 296 megawatt capacity has been discussed as well.

Russia’s largest gas producer Gazprom signed a memorandum of cooperation with Argentinian energy company YPF to explore the Vaca Muerta oil and gas fields in southern Argentina. The project is estimated to cost $1 billion.

More than 20 percent of Argentina’s energy is currently produced with Russian technology and equipment.