Chilean gas company Metrogas has succeeded in securing additional natural gas from Argentina to supply its needs for Santiago. The new agreement, dubbed the Uruguayan Formula, involves importing gas which was originally meant for Uruguay to Chile.
Metrogas previously had a gas supplying contract with Argentina's biggest natural gas exporter Consorcio Sierra Chata. The contract supplied Chile with a stipulated 1.8 million cubic meters of natural gas daily. The contract ended in August. Had the Argentine government not permitted "The Uruguayan Formula," Santiago would have been left with only a daily gas supply of 750.000 cubic meters. In the winter months, however, Santiago residents consume 1.5 million cubic meters of gas per day. Argentine President Néstor Kirchner had previously been unenthusiastic about allowing Chile to redirect Argentine gas from Uruguay back through Argentina and into Chile. Since Kirchner took office in May 2003 Argentina has privileged domestic demand over exports in peak consumption winter months, which was thought to prevent the Metrogas gas deal.(Santiago Times)