SANTIAGO – Spain’s Gas Natural Fenosa expects the Chilean Congress to approve legislation covering the gas industry soon, giving a boost to the company’s $1.1 billion investment plan, CEO Rafael Villaseca told EFE on Wednesday.
“Everything is moving along fine, we’re expecting approval of the gas law soon, giving us the green light to move forward,” Villaseca said.
Villaseca and Gas Natural Fenosa’s president, Isidro Faine, are in Chile, where they met with President Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday.
The two executives met with Energy Minister Andres Rebolledo on Wednesday.
Antonio Gallart, general manager of CGE, also participated in the meetings. CGE, the largest distributor of natural gas and electricity in Chile, is controlled by Gas Natural Fenosa.
The legislation, which introduces a new regulatory regime for the gas distribution industry, “has taken time” but is now in the “home stretch,” Villaseca said.
Gas Natural Fenosa expects the new regulatory framework to boost the investment plan for Chile that executives unveiled a year ago.
The plan calls for investing $1.1 billion over 10 years, expanding service to seven new regions and adding 800,000 households to customer rolls.
Gas Natural Fenosa is an important player in Chile’s energy industry and the new law will reassure private companies weighing future investments, Rebolledo told EFE.
“We believe that you have to have a regulatory framework that provides certainty to the sector and investment. That’s our mission and it’ll come out in the law,” the energy minister said.
A Senate vote on the bill is expected next week, but the legislation may have to go through lawmakers again because the language approved by the Chamber of Deputies has been modified, Rebolledo said.
The government wants to increase both residential and commercial use of natural gas to achieve an energy mix that produces less pollution, Rebolledo said.