US oil and gas project development company Sycar is developing Ecuador’s first LNG import terminal, and says it is now working with an unnamed ‘major LNG trading firm’.
The import terminal, which is being planned for Bajo Alto in El Oro Province, will include port facilities to berth a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), which will supply the existing Machala power plant and an LNG truck filling station. Work is expected to begin in 2021. Sycar says that the location has ‘benign conditions’, allowing work all year round, and has water depths of an average of around 11 m.
The company announced that it had received a status certification of our environmental licensing on 19 June 2020, which it expects to complete by the end of 2020, as well as the concession for the marine terminal from the Undersecretary of Ports, and the FSRU operational permit awarded by the Ecuadorian Agency for the Control and Regulation of Hydrocarbons (ARCH).
The project will introduce natural gas into Ecuador’s energy mix and is part of a wider plan for an onshore LNG storage terminal. Ecuador is looking to increase its gas imports as its own reserves run out, and to fire its power stations, many of which run on oil. Its hydropower generating stations have been affected by high seasonal variations in rains.
In an interview with LNG Global in July 2020, Sycar legal representative Nelson Jaramillo Pita said that he expects demand to initially be around 375,000 TPA.
He said: ‘It is clear that this is a first project and that others will come in the future, especially if it is possible for the import of natural gas to stimulate national production with the downstream growth of basic industries and finished products that is essential to support economic stability.’