Panama, US to Ink LNG Deal

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Panama on Friday will sign an agreement with the US Treasury and Energy departments aimed at paving the way for more private investment to expand the importation and distribution of US LNG in Latin America. David Malpass, Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, said he hopes the "framework agreement" is the first of several with countries in the region to encourage investment to increase access to cheaper, cleaner energy. The agreement is part of a Treasury-led initiative called America Crece, incorporating the Spanish word for growth, aimed at boosting US LNG exports, developing Latin American energy resources and downstream demand. Malpass is in Panama for the signing and the inauguration of a major new LNG terminal and 381 MW gas-fired power plant in Colon, Panama, run by US power company AES Corp. He said in an interview that new investments encouraged by the agreement will help turn the AES Colon project into an LNG distribution hub, with cargoes imported from the US sent to other countries in the region, including Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua. These countries and many Caribbean islands now rely largely on oil to generate electricity, with Venezuela a major supplier.(Reuters)

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