Peru Regains Fuel Exporter Status, Lures $9 Billion

by Alex Emery

Peru, a net fuel importer for the past four decades, is set to become an exporter as Repsol YPF SA and Petroleo Brasileiro SA lead $9 billion of investments in oil and natural gas projects, an industry group said.

Hunt Oil Co.’s Peru LNG plant is among energy projects that will consume $1.5 billion of investments this year and another $7.5 billion by 2016, said Guillermo Ferreyros, head of the Hydrocarbons Committee at the National Society of Mining, Petroleum & Energy. The only such plant in South America’s Pacific coast, it will start exporting 600 million cubic feet of LNG a day this month and turn Peru into a net fuel exporter for the first time since the 1960s, he said.

“This project makes Peru an important player in the regional energy industry,” Ferreyros, who’s also the general manager of Lima-based Maple Energy Plc., said in a June 7 telephone interview. “Peru is seeing increased investment in oil and gas fields, pipelines and refineries.”

Peru’s reduced royalties and flexible contract conditions attracted companies including ConocoPhillips and Ashmore Energy International Ltd. in past years after Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia seized foreign oil assets. The investments are helping the nation grow at the fastest pace among South American nations, with Morgan Stanley forecasting 7 percent expansion this year.

LNG Competition

The LNG plant may help Peru become a gas supplier to neighboring Chile, Argentina and Brazil, as well as Mexico and the U.S., Cesar Gutierrez, a former chief executive officer of state company Petroperu SA, said in a June 7 interview.

Peru’s biggest energy project, the unit will earn the country $1.4 billion a year and reverse the country’s hydrocarbon trade deficit, which topped $1.5 billion last year, according to data on the project’s website.

Hunt Oil, based in Dallas, holds 50 percent of the project, while Madrid-based Repsol and South Korea’s SK Group each own 20 percent. Japan’s Marubeni Corp. owns 10 percent. The plant will tap gas fields developed by Repsol and Petrobras near the Camisea fields, where the two companies are investing about $2 billion, according to Peruvian government estimates.

The Brazilian oil producer also plans a joint venture with state company Petroleos del Peru SA and Braskem SA to build a $2.5 billion petrochemical plant in Peru. Repsol YPF may more than double its investment in Peru over the next five years to $6 billion, Chief Executive Officer Antonio Brufau Niubo said last month.

First Shipments

Repsol has bought Peru LNG’s entire output for 18 1/2 years, which it will market with Spain’s Gas Natural SDG SA. The first shipments may go to Canada and Spain before it starts supplying a gasification plant that Mitsui & Co., Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Korea Gas Corp. are building in Mexico, Repsol said last month.

Other energy investments in Peru include Perenco SA’s $2 billion oil and pipeline projects, CF Industries Holdings Inc.’s $2 billion petrochemicals complex and Petroperu’s $1.3 billion Talara refinery expansion. Colombia’s Ecopetrol SA is spending $2.5 billion in oil and gas fields, while a Pluspetrol SA-led group is investing $2 billion in the Camisea gas fields.

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is gas that’s chilled to liquid form for transportation by tanker to distant locations.

On arrival, it’s returned to a gas in a gasification plant for delivery to users.

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