Argentina Looks to Russia and China for Cooperation in Energy, Infrastructure Projects

Argentine Planning Minister Julio De Vido held two days of intensive talks in Moscow on Dec. 5 and 6, on the first leg of a trip that is also taking him and Finance Minsiter Axel Kiciloff to China and then Brazil, seeking $19 billion in investments for 15 energy infrastructure projects that make up the nation’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan.

Among the 15 projects are hydroelectric plants and nuclear reactors, as well as projects in the areas of sanitation, rail transportation, and telecommunications. Argentina is looking to increase its installed energy capacity by 20%.

In Moscow, the Planning Minister made presentations to representatives from several Russian companies—Power Machines, Energomashexport, Gazprom, Rushydro, and the construction giant Inter Rao among them—and also met separately with officials from the state nuclear energy agency Rosatom, who are interested in bidding for the construction of Argentina’s fourth and fifth nuclear reactors.

It’s estimated that construction of the 15 projects could produce as many as 50,000 jobs in the construction field. Once completed, the hydroelectric projects could add 4,925 MW to the national interconnected grid. Investors would form joint ventures with Argentine companies, guaranteeing use of local labor as well.

In Beijing, De Vido was joined by Finance Minister Kiciloff, and both will meet on Dec. 9 with representatives of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the China Satellite Launch and Tracking Control General, and with the National Commission for Development and Reform, the state entity that coordinates the work of those companies in which the state has a share.

On Dec. 10, the two cabinet members will present details of the projects to a group of Chinese businessmen. On Sunday, De Vido met with officials from the China Machinery Engineering Corp. (CMEC), which is providing the rolling stock for the Argentine railroad line, Belgrano Cargas.

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