By RODRIGO ORIHUELA & LUCIA BALDOMIR
PARIS (Bloomberg) -- GDF Suez has agreed to operate a floating liquefied natural gas import terminal in Uruguay.
The platform, which will be the South American nations first, is scheduled to start operating in 2015 and GDF will operate it for the Uruguay government, according to a statement from GDF Suez. The plant will have a storage capacity of 263,000 cubic meters of gas, and will be built by Mitsui OSK Lines.
The tender process for the LNG plant started last year, as Uruguay, which doesnt produce oil or gas, seeks to cut its dependency on gas shipments from Argentina.
Uruguay has started opening tenders for offshore oil exploration in 2010, with companies including Petroleo Brasileiro, YPF and Galp Energia SGPS winning exploration licenses. Total, BG Group, Tullow Oil and BP Group were awarded contracts last year in a second tender.
Signing the agreement with GDF is a landmark in Uruguays energy strategy as it will allow to reduce energy costs and vulnerabilities, Industry Minister Roberto Kreimerman told reporters in Montevideo.