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Colombia imported its highest annual LNG volume ever in 2023 – Platts

S&P Global Platts
S&P Global Platts

Angeles Rodriguez, Platts S&P Global

EnergiesNet.com 01 05 2023

LNG annual imports to Colombia reached an all-time high in 2023, driven by drought conditions that increased demand for gas-fired electricity in the country during the second half of the year.

Imports to the Andean country totaled 36.3 Bcf last year, a large increase from the 3.3 Bcf in 2022, S&P Global Commodity Insights data shows. The country’s previous high was at 15 Bcf in 2020. The 2023 figure is the highest ever recorded by S&P Global, for data between 2016 to 2023. Colombia’s SPEC terminal in Cartagena, the country’s only LNG import facility, began operations in 2016.

The country imported LNG every month in 2023, except for January, March, and April. Monthly imports remained below the 3 Bcf mark until September when they jumped to 5.9 Bcf. Imported volumes increased to 7.5 Bcf in October, subsequently dropping to 3.13 Bcf in November.

Some 26 LNG cargoes arrived in Colombia in 2023. Except for the Gaslog Glasgow and the Shandong Juniper, which arrived from Trinidad and Tobago’s Atlantic LNG terminal in February and July, respectively, all the other cargoes were sourced from US LNG export plants.

December imports

Monthly LNG imports to Colombia also hit a record in December, totaling nearly 9.7 Bcf, about triple the amount in November.

Prior to 2023, monthly LNG imports had never reached 4 Bcf, with May 2020 being the previous highest figure at nearly 3.7 Bcf.

The number of LNG cargoes arriving in a month also broke a record in December with seven. The second-highest number of cargoes Colombia had received in a month was five in October 2023 and prior to 2023 had never imported more than two cargoes in a single month.

Near-term expectations

While the drought conditions that have led Colombia to buy LNG on the spot market in the past few months are expected to continue for a few more months until El Niño is projected to weaken, the precipitation the country experienced in the last few weeks of December provided temporary relief and reduced the need for additional LNG spot purchases.

Hydropower traditionally accounts for 70% of Colombia’s electricity generation. The country’s domestic gas production and other generation sources are typically sufficient to cover the remaining power demand needs under normal weather conditions.

Daily contributions from hydropower dams to Colombia’s power grid have been above 100 GWh since Dec. 15, they were consistently below that threshold in the first half of last month, data from national power operator XM shows.

“Recent rainfall drove demand for LNG practically to zero,” said a source with knowledge of the situation.

As such, no new LNG tenders are expected until the end of this month, according to the source.

Colombia is still awaiting the delivery of two more cargoes tendered in December, based on information S&P Global previously collected. The cargoes are expected to arrive later in January.

Calamari, the country’s sole procurer of LNG, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether new LNG tenders are scheduled for the coming weeks.

spglobal.com 01 04 2023

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