6 Colombian energy projects to watch in 2023

Bnamericas Published: Monday, December 26, 2022
6 Colombian energy projects to watch in 2023

1. Regasificadora del Pacífico (Pacific LNG)

Earmarked for the Pacific port of Buenaventura, the Pacific LNG project comprises a 200,000m3-capacity storage and regasification facility and a 120km pipeline that would transport up to 400Mf3/d (million cubic feet per day) to Yumbo, on the northern outskirts of Cali.

According to the latest bidding documents published by UPME, interested parties have until March 3 to present technical and economic bids, with envelopes scheduled to be opened on March 21 and 24. 

An April 11 deadline has been set for the counteroffer stage, the results of which are slated for publication on April 26 (technical proposals) and May 3 (economic bids). Contracts are due to be signed on May 8. 

UPME has set a construction deadline of 58 months after the contract is awarded. 

An initial tender process for the project, which is expected to be built at a cost ranging from US$650mn to US$1bn, was aborted last year due to tepid investor interest. 

UPME has since taken steps to make the contract guidelines more attractive to potential developers. 

2. Alpha, Beta wind farms

The Alpha and Beta wind farms belonging to Energías de Portugal (EDP) are due to begin operating in December 2023 following investments of US$550mn. 

Located at Maicao and Uribia, in the Caribbean coastal department of La Guajira, the projects will have combined installed capacity of 492MW. 

Late last month, EDP's Colombia country manager Felipe de Gamboa said the developments had been affected by increased transport costs caused by the global supply chain crisis. 

Another obstacle has been insufficient port and road infrastructure that has hampered the delivery of equipment and components. But he ruled out any delays, pointing out that 81 turbines out of a total of 90 had arrived in the country.

3. Offshore gas

Despite having ruled out new bid rounds for E&P rights, the government is pushing ahead with plans to develop existing exploration projects, including a slew of areas off the Caribbean coast. 

The natural gas-rich Tayrona and Purple Angel blocks are the among the most promising.

In August, a joint venture between Colombian state-run company Ecopetrol and Royal Dutch Shell identified a gas accumulation while drilling the ultra-deepwater Gorgón-2 well.

The announcement came less than two weeks after Ecopetrol and Brazil's Petrobras confirmed the discovery of gas while drilling the Uchuva-1 exploration well, also in the Caribbean sea. 

In a report published earlier this month, the mines and energy ministry said offshore blocks such as Fuerte Sur, Purple Angel and Col 5 can expect to see their first commercial gas in 2027. 

4. Colectora grid link

The mines and energy ministry this year granted Grupo Energía Bogotá a 32-month extension for the completion of its Colectora grid expansion project.

The ministry accepted GEB's claim that the development had faced unavoidable delays due to a legal requirement to consult with more than 200 local communities before proceeding with construction work.

The company now has until July 2025 to bring the project online, having been previously set a November 2022 deadline. 

The Colectora initiative – which comprises the 500kV Colectora-Cuestecitas-La Loma power lines and the associated Colectora substation in La Guajira department – will connect seven wind farms totaling 1,050MW of capacity to the national grid.

5. Hydrogen economy

The Colombian government is financing feasibility studies for 10 hydrogen projects as part of a wider plan to kickstart investment in the nascent sector. 

The developers selected in a competitive bidding process are VATIA, Busscar de Colombia, Energal BioGas, Solenium, H2NOSTRUM, H2 Andes, TE H2, Sociedad De Gestión Grupo TW Solar Colombia and Universidad de Antioquia, according to a mines and energy ministry statement.

The developers will be responsible for delivering pre-investment studies for the green and blue hydrogen value chain, with funding provided by the government's Fenoge renewable energy program. 

It coincides with a series of other developments in one of Colombia's fastest growing business segments.  In July, Ecopetrol and car manufacturer Toyota signed a three-year deal to carry out mobility tests on vehicles that run on green hydrogen. 

Other companies to have unveiled plans to invest in hydrogen include Promigas and Grupo Energía Bogotá

The mines and energy ministry unveiled its long-term blueprint for clean hydrogen in September 2021, outlining plans for up to 3GW of electrolysis capacity by 2030 and envisaging wide-scale adoption of fuel-cell vehicles.

6. Offshore wind

Investors have submitted plans for seven wind farms off the Caribbean coast as Colombia accelerates its shift to low-carbon energy sources. 

The proposed developments would have combined installed capacity of 4,835MW, according to the project registry of energy ministry planning unit UPME. They are earmarked for the departments of La Guajira (two projects), Magdalena (two), Bolívar (two) and Atlántico (one).

The most advanced project is the 200MW Los Vientos Alisios complex planned for waters off the municipality of Santa Catalina in Bolívar. 

Spanish developer BlueFloat Energy has secured a grid connection for the initiative, which is expected to be fully operational in August 2025.

Rising interest in offshore wind follows the publication of an industry roadmap by the government in May. The document envisages up to 1GW of installed marine wind capacity by 2030, 3GW by 2040 and 9GW by 2050.

More information regarding the projects can be seen here.

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