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Image courtesy of Transportadora de Gas del Peru.

A rise in rebel violence has pushed back Peru’s planned $475 million expansion of its main natural gas pipeline by a year.

Construction on the pipeline is currently about 55 percent complete and is now expected to finish in the first quarter of 2016, Reuters said.

The pipeline runs from the Camisea gas fields in Peru’s southern region to the central coast.

The expansion will double the pipeline’s capacity from 610 million cubic feet per day to 1.54 billion cubic feet per day.

According to Peru’s Energy and Mines Ministry, the Camisea concession area covers 350,600 acres.

The concession holds an estimated 11.2 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves.

Rebel fighters affiliated with the Shining Path, a Maoist guerrilla group, are interrupting pipeline construction in the coca-growing region close to the Camisea gas fields.

The Shining Path has kidnapped dozens of gas workers in the past including 36 contractors working in the Cusco region in 2012 who were later released unharmed.

The state owned Transportadora de Gas del Peru (TGP) said rebel attacks continue to threaten its workers and infrastructure.

“The security problem is still present, but we have the support of the state, which has put security forces in the area that allow us to work,” TGP’s general manager Ricardo Ferreiro said.

TGP’s expansion project will help meet spiking demand in Peru’s populous coastal area. About half of Peru’s electricity is generated with natural gas.

The Camisea gas fields are operated by a consortium led by Argentina’s Pluspetrol that includes Spain’s Repsol-YPF, Argentina’s Tecpetrol, Dallas-based Hunt Oil, South Korea’s SK Energy and Algeria’s Sonatrach.