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US natural gas suppliers, worried about the interruption of supplies from Algeria, are shopping around for other sources.

They've found Argentina.

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A recent agreement between US and Argentine companies calls for the purchase of 163 billion cubic feet a year of Argentine natural gas for the next 20 years. At 1981 rates, that would be less than 1 percent of US gas consumption.

But the deal is only the first of several. Under the $2.3 billion agreement, a liquefaction plant, export facilities, and pipelines will be built in Argentina. Target date: 1986.m

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