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Argentina joins Ecuador to develop 1,500-MW Coca Codo Sinclair

Ecuador President Rafael Correa and energy officials of Ecuador and Argentina have ratified an agreement for joint development of the 1,500-MW Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric project on the Coca River in Ecuador's Napo Province.

The governments agreed that the project is to be carried out by Coca Codo Sinclair S.A., a joint venture of Compania de Generacion Termoelectrica Pinchincha S.A. (Termopichincha) of Ecuador and Energia Argentina S.A. (Enarsa) of Argentina. In 2007, Ecuador said Coca Codo Sinclair is among eight hydro projects in which it plans to invest US$300 million per year. (HNN 11/7/07)

Under the agreement, Ecuador is to finance 70 percent of the US$1.6 billion project, with Argentina providing the remaining 30 percent. Correa's office said February 7 that Coca Codo Sinclair S.A. is founded with seed capital of US$400,000, of which US$280,000 will come from Termopichincha and US$120,000 will come from Enarsa.

The five-year agreement is renewable in five-year increments.

Ecuador's energy and hydrocarbon investment fund, Fondo Ecuatoriano de Inversion en los Sectores Energetico e Hidrocarburifero (FEISEH), is to provide Ecuador's share of the funding. Money for FEISEH come from the sale of oil from fields the government confiscated from Occidental Petroleum Co. in 2006.

The government previously said the project is to begin operation in 2012, generating power at a cost of 2 cents per kWh. Ecuador's Energy and Mines Ministry was updating 10-year-old studies of Coca Codo Sinclair, which has been listed with capacities over the years of 660 MW, 859 MW, and 1,500 MW.

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