Chile's state oil company ENAP has signed long-term deal with British Gas to import shale gas from the United States at the end of next year, local media reported.
Shipments will leave from a U.S. port, Chilean Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco was quoted as saying on Monday in newspaper La Tercera's Tuesday edition.
"Among the first gas shipments to leave from that port will be gas destined for Chile," Pacheco said.
The deal's volumes and prices were not revealed.
A press officer at the Energy Minister confirmed the information but did not give further details. ENAP declined to give details but said an announcement would be made next week. It was not possible to immediately contact British Gas, Britain's largest energy supplier owned by utility Centrica .
A surge in shale gas production in the United States is transforming the global energy market. Once a regular liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, the United States is now set to export significant volumes of LNG across the globe by the end of the decade, including to copper powerhouse Chile, which has long viewed gas as a way to alleviate a looming power crunch.
"Today, without a doubt, the most important revolution happening in the United States is the 'Energy Revolution,'" Pachecho told paper El Mercurio.
Shipments are due to arrive to the Mejillones terminal, in the mining-intensive North, and Quintero, in the central region.
(Reporting by Fabian Cambero Editing by W Simon)