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Uruguay Developer Courts Energy Firms for $1.6 Billion Atlantic Coast Port – Bloomberg

The Atlantic coast beach town of La Paloma, Uruguay. Walter Bibikow/Digital Vision
CLM in talks with green hydrogen investors: vice president. Proposed port requires government approvals, bidding process. The Atlantic coast beach town of La Paloma, Uruguay. (Walter Bibikow/Digital Vision)

Ken Parks, Bloomberg News

EnergiesNet.com 10 20 2023

Infrastructure developer Corredor Logistico Multimodal (CLM) is in talks with three international energy companies interested in making hydrogen-based fuels and chemicals at a $1.6 billion deepwater port it wants to build on Uruguay’s sparsely populated Atlantic coast.

The project, dubbed La Paloma Hub, would be located close to offshore wind-energy blocs that state-run oil company Ancap is preparing to auction as soon as this year and would power hydrogen plants, CLM vice president and shareholder Jorge Carcova Munilla said.

“We have pre agreements with European companies for the development of green hydrogen, synthetic fuels and ammonia,”  he said in an interview.

Uruguay’s treacherous Atlantic coast is a graveyard of shipwrecks and grandiose port projects that foundered on the shoals of poor planning and wishful thinking. Montevideo-based CLM is betting it can succeed by building a multipurpose port that handles bulk cargo including fuels and farm products from Uruguay, Brazil and other South American nations. 

The project involves expanding the existing port in the beach town of La Paloma by filling in 220 hectares (543 acres) of ocean and building breakwaters to handle Capsize vessels that draw too much water to dock at Uruguay’s main riverine ports of Montevideo and Nueva Palmira.

CLM, whose shareholders are Argentine and Uruguayan investors, is in separate negotiations with two international companies to finance, build and possibly operate the port, Carcova Munilla said.

CLM needs the government of Uruguay to approve the project before it prepares feasibility and environmental impact studies, he said. Local regulations also require the government to hold a competitive bidding process to build the port, though CLM would have preferred status as the project sponsor.

Construction could start in 2025 if regulatory approvals are forthcoming and CLM wins the contract bid, Carcova Munilla said.

“We think it will take five or six years for the port to be totally operational,” he said.

Other key items from the interview:

  • A desalinization plant powered by land-based wind, solar farms would supply fresh water to the port
  • La Paloma Hub would also have facilities for yachts and naval, fishing and cruise ships
  • CLM will seek free-trade-zone and free-port status for La Paloma Hub

bloomberg.com 10 19 2023

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