VINA DEL MAR, CHILE —
Chile expects to close an energy swap deal with Argentina in the days ahead, Chilean Energy Minister Andres Rebolledo said in an interview Thursday.
The neighboring South American nations are also negotiating the locations for five additional transmission line interconnection points, with an agreement expected as early as January, the minister told Reuters.
"We made a proposal to Argentina and we are very close to reaching an agreement," Rebolledo said, referring to the energy swap.
"I think we can have an agreement in the next couple of days or if not, over the next few weeks," he added.
Chile and Argentina share a 3,300-mile (5,300-kilometer) border running north to south along the rugged terrain of the Andes mountains. The deal would allow both countries to send natural gas or electricity at one point of the frontier and obtain needed supplies at another border point.
Rebolledo, who spoke with Reuters on the sidelines of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) meeting in the coastal city of Vina del Mar, said Chile and Argentina are planning to add five new points of electricity interconnection in the coming years.
For this, he said the countries commissioned studies with financial support from the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) to define the geographic points that would make the project most efficient.
"In January, we will probably have the result [of the study], with the map of the five main points where there is supply and demand on the other side, and where it is best to put the transmission lines," he said.