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Panamanian company Centro Energético de las Américas (Cela) expects to break ground in October on the Atlantic component of its integrated oil and gas project, a Cela official told BNamericas.
The three-stage project - whose first phase would cost roughly US$1.1bn - includes refineries, an LNG regasification plant, storage terminals, marine facilities, pipelines and petrochemical plants.
Project infrastructure on the Atlantic will be near the town of María Chiquita in Colón province; infrastructure on the Pacific will be near the former Howard air base. The facilities will be linked via a 92km pipeline.
The storage tanks, marine facilities and support units are due to be ready within 24 months, at which time the Pacific and pipeline components should also be ready, the official said.
The Atlantic component will boast storage capacity of 16MB and be able to handle 2-3 ships, the official added.
Operation licenses for the Atlantic and Pacific terminals have been secured from the Panama Canal Authority, as have permits from national environmental authority Anam.
The last requirement is the granting of maritime concessions by the maritime authority, which is due to begin reviewing this component in coming weeks, according to the official.
The company aims to become an energy hub for the distribution of oil and petrochemicals, targeting the US east and west coasts, other parts of the Americas and Asia - in particular China and India.
The entire project envisions refineries with capacity of 2Mb/d, petrochemical plants with combined production of 3Mt/y, 1Bf3/d (28.3Mm3/d) of LNG and 86Mb of storage capacity.
The official said detailed engineering work is underway for the refineries.