A time for decisions - Forbes
17 April 2020
By ASTRID ÁLVAREZ
CEO Grupo Energía Bogotá
The challenges of securing natural gas supplies cannot withstand any more delays for the players in the natural gas chain. Before I mention them, I would like to remind you that Transportadora de Gas Internacional (TGI), a subsidiary of Grupo Energía Bogotá (GEB), has a network of 4,016 kilometers of gas pipelines, has a 65% participation in the national transportation market in terms of kilometers of infrastructure and 54% of the country's natural gas transportation. We are committed to making the required investments and the necessary maintenance to guarantee that our system has maximum availability.
We have supported alternatives for the market to renew the availability of gas sources, regardless of whether they are national or international. They are absolutely necessary and this will ensure the confidence in the market, which will be able to rely on sufficient gas to ensure its production processes.
We all need to support the development of domestic sources, undertaking joint efforts to incorporate conventional and non-conventional gas. We view very positively Ecopetrol's announcements about the possible entry of the Orca Field in 2024, located 40 kilometers off the coast of Punta Gallinas (La Guajira) and which is expected to produce 100 to 200 million cubic feet per day (MPCD).
Connecting that field to the Ballena station would bring benefits to the entire natural gas sector. It is important that there is coordination with the transporters, so that the demand can be accessed in a timely manner. During this process, the information between producers and transporters becomes the key to effective coordination.
Similarly, the Pacific Regasification Plant and the gas pipeline that will connect it to the transportation system require priority decision-making, since this project is key and strategic to maintain the security of natural gas supply. The National Government must decide on starting the competitive process for its construction. If it is made operational in a timely manner, by the year 2023, demand can then rely on a gas supply source of up to 400 MPDC.
Having this source projected in the southwestern part of the country significantly improves the reliability of the system, since the traditional sources are located in the north and east of Colombia. A significant amount of demand is remote and a production or capacity failure or transport system failure can jeopardize its supply.
The Ministry of Mining and Energy is currently updating the Natural Gas Supply Plan where, in addition to the aforementioned plant, we expect other relevant projects that are equivalent to infrastructure investments of over USD 200 million, which will benefit the almost 10 million Natural Gas users in the country.
Among them is the bi-directional Ballena-Barrancabermeja project, which will allow for the transportation of 100 MPCD of gas from the interior of the country to the Atlantic Coast, in addition to the 260 MPCD that can be transported today in the opposite direction. This is in addition to the interconnection between the country's transport systems and the bi-directionality Barranquilla-Ballena (170 MPCD), which will become a set of assets that will transform the country's gas market into one, thus giving access to a greater number of sources and producers will have a truly national demand.
In addition, there is the El Cerrito-Popayán compressor, the extension of the Mariquita-Gualanday gas pipeline and the Yumbo-Mariquita bidirectionality.
The regulatory and policy procedures must be speeded up so that these projects can be executed because they are essential assets needed by the sector. If the delay in the start of execution continues, the supply and reliability of the natural gas sector in our country will be jeopardized.
Likewise, it is worth highlighting the proposals of the Energy Transformation Mission, which are currently in the commentary stage and which rightly include the philosophy of guaranteed supply always in competitive environments that promote the formation of efficient prices. It is important to mention that the Mission is also proposing, in addition to the Regasification Plant in the Pacific, another one in La Guajira, which will also be convenient given its complementarity with the Ballena-Barrancabermeja infrastructure
We must boost these initiatives in order to maintain the security of supply and develop the market in a sustained and competitive manner. Colombians can rest assured that we are doing what is necessary to ensure that the supply of natural gas is guaranteed in the long term and for all segments of the market. Now is the time to make decisions.