On 16-17 November 2017, EnergyNet and the International Gas Union (IGU) hosted the first annual Latin America and Caribbean Gas Options meeting under the aegis of Panama’s National Energy Secretariat.  The theme of the summit was Gas and the Energy Transition – A Global Challenge and Opportunity.

Over 150 high-level governmental and gas industry representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean attended the forum and debated how to capitalize on the opportunities that natural gas offers to the region. This included such issues as meeting the challenges of bringing natural gas to new underserviced areas in the region, to infrastructure development, financing, regulation, contracts, prices and regional interconnection.

“Today we are living an exciting transition towards a more secure, sustainable and competitive energy sector. Natural gas is playing a key role in enabling this transition as it is foundational to the achievement of these three goals,” commented Talita Covre, Programme Manager at EnergyNet.

The event highlighted the economic advantages of combined cycle natural gas plants as compared to other forms of electricity generation, and their on-demand flexibility and responsiveness to support renewables intermittency.  In addition to its economic and operational attractiveness, Rafael Huarte, Director of the IGU pointed out that “the gas industry is clearly committed to a sustainable energy future. Natural gas facilitates the fastest and most economical way to a less carbon-intensive world while providing greater access to energy and a vast improvement to air quality”.
Returning from COP23 in Bonn, Luis Bertrán, Secretary General of the IGU added: “Over the next two decades, displacing coal by the combination of natural gas and renewables will be the fastest and most affordable route to emission reduction aligned with Paris Agreement goals.”

A number of distinguished speakers presented Country highlights which included:

Dr. Victor Carlos Urrutia, Energy Secretary, National Secretariat of Energy, Panama

  • LNG entry in Panama and its impact on international trade
  • The Expansion of the Panama Canal and LNG as a new growing business.

Eng. Luis Alfonso Chang Navarro, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Guatemala

  • Plant entry schedule
  • Evaluation of the expansion of the Guatemalan generation system based on the growth of reference demand and the price of reference fuels

Rosanety Barrios Beltrán, Head of the Industrial Transformation Policy Unit, SENER, Mexico

  • The Energy Reform and the route map for the opening of the natural gas market
  • The interaction and coordination between authorities and the regulated market, which allowed the natural gas market to start its operation under conditions of price freedom and reserve capacity

Marcelo Ferreira Alfradique, Natural Gas Deputy Superintendent, Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE), Brazil

  • Gas To Grow Initiative: Market Opening Process
  • A natural gas market with a diversification of agents, liquidity, competitiveness, transparency of information and best practices, which contributes to economic growth of the country.

Alexander Ramírez, Director, Regulatory Direction of Hydrocarbons and Mines, Ministry of Economy, El Salvador

  • The elaboration of 4 complementary regulations: (1) for the transport by natural gas pipelines, (2) for the distribution of natural gas by networks, (3) for the construction, operation and maintenance of service stations for vehicular natural gas and workshops for converting and enabling vehicular natural gas and (4) for land transportation (modular and ISO containers) of natural gas.
  • The methodology for establishing prices, margins and tariffs related to Natural Gas and the strengthening of technical capacities.

Speakers at the meeting converged on the need to develop energy and regulatory policies for gas development. In addition, it was agreed that a local business model is needed for each country and region, along with a mix of demand and political and regulatory stability that makes investment economically viable.

For more information, please contact
•         EnergyNet: Laida.Iparraguirre@energynet.co.uk

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