OREANDA-NEWS. January 19, 2018. Argentina's government is calling for public input on draft regulations that would allow private-sector companies to import LNG through two terminals that are now exclusively used by state-owned Enarsa.

The proposed regulations would still give priority to Enarsa in the use of the terminals.

The energy ministry published the draft and called for "proposals, observations or modifications" to be submitted via email before 28 February.

"The regulation was established to facilitate the creation of a secondary market for (regasification) capacity," the ministry said. "These plants were structured with a closed management model that did not contemplate the possibility of third parties using a portion of the regasification capacity."

Argentina's two LNG receiving terminals are located in Bahia Blanca and Escobar, both in Buenos Aires province. The terminals were built after the country became a net gas importer in the late 2000s, following a decade-long role as a steady regional exporter.

The effort to allow the private sector to use the regasification terminals aligns with a broader campaign by the government to open up the highly regulated energy sector and allow power generators to purchase their own fuel.

In the peak of the southern hemisphere winter months, thermal power plants often have to burn more expensive diesel because the government prioritizes supply of natural gas for residential use, where the fuel is used for heating.