Panama plans $1bn spend on natural gas plant
Saying that energy is the basis for economic growth, Panama’s president said June 1 that a $1bn investment would support the development of a natural gas plant.
President Laurentino Cortizo said the nation should start on a path to a cleaner future by creating a new grid that depends more on natural gas as well as renewable energy resources such as wind, hydroelectric and solar power.
A new consortium led by the government and private companies InterEnergy Group and AES Panama will utilise a $1bn investment to build a new plant, dubbed Gatun, to process natural gas. Sources told the Reuters news service that operations could begin as early as 2023.
Cohen said the investment is part of a broader strategy aimed at developing a competitive electricity sector that not only attracts new investments, but creates new jobs in the process.
“Energy is the basis for the development of a more competitive economy that brings more job opportunities and higher income for the population,” he said.
Panama is already emerging as a player in the Central American natural gas market. In October 2019, US-based AES Corp, a conglomerate that includes a Panamanian subsidiary, started operations at its AES Colon LNG hub in Panama, the first such facility serving markets in Central America.
AES Colon consists of a 180,000 m3 LNG tank and a 381-MW combined cycle power plant, which has been operating since 2018 using gas from temporary sources.
AES said commercial operations at the complex would allow for the use of LNG throughout the region and establish Panama as the natural gas hub for the Central American region.