Colombia to quadruple LPG imports in 2022

  • Market: LPG, Oil products
  • 10/11/21

Colombia will quadruple LPG imports in 2022 to meet demand as state-controlled Ecopetrol prepares to divert its supply for use as diluent and gasoline feedstock, Colombian LPG association Agremgas says.

Colombia is expected to import an average of 20,658 tonnes/month in first half 2022, rising to 20,730t/month in the second half, compared with 5,000-6,000t/month in 2021.

Colombia historically imported about 3pc of the LPG it consumes. Starting next year, imports will account for around 31pc of total LPG consumption of 66,000t-67,448t/month, Agremgas figures show.

Colombia was expected to import 9,100 t/month in July-December 2021, but infrastructure delays and Covid-19-related issues delayed Ecopetrol's plans to start diverting LPG until January from an initial August deadline, Agremas director Felipe Gomez told Argus.

Ecopetrol's Apiay field will stop supplying about 1,000t/month to the domestic market in January. And the 250,000 b/d Barrancabermeja refinery will gradually reduce LPG supply from 9,660t/month in second quarter 2021 to 6,230t/month in first quarter 2023. Supply will fall to around 500t/month in 2025, Agremgas figures showed.

By 2024, import infrastructure will be insufficient, Alejandro Martinez, director of the Colombia's LPG association Gasnova, said today at the group's international LPG summit.

The G5 consortium of LPG distributors -- Almagas, Chilco, Inversiones del Nordeste, Montagas and Vidagas -- is doubling import capacity at its Cartagena terminal Okianus to 16,000t/month for use by year-end. With the upgrade, the country's total LPG import capacity will increase to 24,000t/month. Okianus is expected to import around 6,000t/month during second half 2022, gradually rising to 6,400t/month in late 2024, Agremgas says.

Colombia can also import LPG at Plexaport, in Mamonal near Cartagena, which has an effective storage capacity of 8,000t/month. Plexaport is seen handling 15,000t/month in imports in second half 2022.

Martinez urged the government to provide incentives to boost LPG production from sources other than Ecopetrol to facilitate long-term contracts and planning.


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