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China key to Argentina's energy development: business executive

Chinese expertise and financial support are crucial for Argentina to reduce energy import cost and become self-sufficient in energy production, an Argentine business executive said Friday.

In an interview with Xinhua, Gerardo Ferreyra, vice president of the construction firm Electroingenieria (Eling), said China's aid has helped the South American country save over 10 billion U.S. dollars every year in energy import.

Right now Eling and China Gezhouba (Group) Corporation are working together to build two hydroelectric dams, namely the Nestor Kirchner and Jorge Cepernic, in Argentina's southern Santa Cruz province.

As part of a 4.7 billion-dollar project financed by the China Development Bank (CDB) and insurance firm China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), construction of the two dams reflected the importance of China-Argentina cooperation in energy projects, said the senior managerial staff.

"Significant support" from Gezhouba, the CDB and Sinosure have placed the project on the path to success, said Ferreyra.

Under the Argentina-China deal, the two sides work together in the construction, operation and maintenance of the two plants on the Santa Cruz River, with a combined output of 1,740 megawatts.

Ferreyra said China's help also has other implications for Argentina, noting, "The plants are going to generate savings in fuel and improvements in our central bank reserves, which will improve the conditions of governability."

With China's know-how and financial support, Argentina is confident that the dam project will help the government improve the people's livelihood, he said.

Argentina plans to build 10 more dams in other provinces to further tap its hydroelectric power.

Ferreyra said his company, together with Gezhouba, has been preparing for almost a year and is "ready to bid" for a 650-megawatt dam project in Neuquen province after the two dams are constructed.

"In every case, we will continue to work with Gezhouba and Chinese financing agencies," said Ferreyra.

[Source: Xinhua, Bs As, 11Apr14]

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