Colombia's electricity woes add to unrest against Petro

  • : Electricity, Oil products
  • 24/04/22

Colombians took the streets of major cities and towns across the nation on Sunday to protest mainly against health, pension and labor changes, but potential power outages are also creating discontent.

Authorities estimated that about 250,000 Colombians marched in widespread protests, sparked by changes in healthcare. Congress in April had rejected President Gustavo Petro's proposals in the sector, and the government the next day seized the two largest private-sector health insurers. Protesting healthcare workers say the government did this to implement changes through a back channel.

"Regulatory noise and risk are likely to remain high amid announcements, proposals, and measures [that do not require congressional approval], aimed at changing the game's rules in strategic sectors," brokerage Credicorp Capital said.

Colombians also protested being on the verge of electricity rationing like that in neighboring Ecuador as hydroelectric reservoirs remain at record-low levels. Several unions and other associations have long warned the Petro administration to take measures to offset the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon.

Electricity distributors last year called for allowing bills for energy purchased on the spot market to be deferred and for loosening price index rules, among other proposals. The national business council sent at least three letters to the president on the issue. At least nine separate letters calling for preparation to prevent blackouts were sent to the president and ministers. Several actions were only recently implemented.

"There are no risk of electricity rationing in Colombia," former energy minister Irene Velez said in 2023. "We do not understand why some people are interested in generating panic."

Government weather forecasts also overestimated rainfall expected for March, leading hydroelectric plants to use more water in the reservoirs than they otherwise would have, said director of the thermoelectric generation association (Andeg) Alejandro Castaneda.

Reservoir levels stood at 29.5pc today, rising thanks to rains since 19 April, up from 28.75pc on 18 April. Electricity rationing is set to begin when reservoirs drop below 27pc, according to grid operator XM.


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24/06/17

UK launches anti-dumping investigation: Base Oils

UK launches anti-dumping investigation: Base Oils

London, 17 June (Argus) — The UK Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) is investigating alleged dumping of lubricants in the UK market at unfair prices. The TRA will investigate whether imports of engine oils and hydraulic fluids from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Lithuania are being dumped in the UK and whether they are causing injury to the UK's lubricant blending industry. The investigation was spurred by an anti-dumping application by UK lubricants manufacturer Aztec Oils. "For too long, UK lubricant manufacturers have faced unfair competition from dumped products sold at unsustainable prices, which has had a severe impact on our industry", Aztec managing director Mark Lord told Argus today. "By ensuring fair trading practices, we can safeguard jobs, maintain high standards of product quality, and secure the long-term prosperity of the UK lubricant industry", Lord added. If the TRA determines a trade remedy is necessary, an Economic Interest Test (EIT) will be conducted to assess whether the implementation of a trade remedy is in the UK's economic interest, TRA said. UK imports of engine oils and hydraulic fluids from the UAE and Lithuania have increased over the past two years. Imports in February totalled 2,219t — standing 2,157t higher than in February 2022, according to Global Trade Tracker. European buyers have recently looked more towards importing Group I base oils, despite traditionally being a net exporter , as a result of refinery maintenance and shutdowns , curbing available supply. More limited availability has pushed European fob Group I domestic and export spot prices up, incentivising a move towards more competitively priced material. The Argus- assessed Group I SN 150 fob domestic and export spot price currently stands at parity ($1,110/t) with prices rising by 13pc and 31pc, respectively, since the start of the year. By Christian Hotten Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Iran rebukes G7 over nuclear warning: Update


24/06/17
24/06/17

Iran rebukes G7 over nuclear warning: Update

Adds quotes from IAEA director general Dubai, 17 June (Argus) — Iran's foreign ministry has called on the G7 to distance itself from "destructive policies of the past" after the group issued a statement condemning Tehran's recent nuclear programme escalation. "Unfortunately, some countries, driven by political motives and by resorting to baseless and unproven claims, attempt to continue their failed and ineffective policy of imposing and maintaining sanctions against the Iranian nation," the foreign ministry's spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on 16 June. Kanaani advised the G7 "to learn from past experiences and distance itself from destructive past policies". His comments were in response to a joint statement from G7 leaders on 14 June warning Iran against advancing its nuclear enrichment programme. The leaders said they would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia. The G7's reference to Iran comes on the heels of a new resolution passed by the board of governors of the UN's nuclear watchdog the IAEA . The resolution calls on Iran to step up co-operation and reverse its decision to restrict the agency access to nuclear facilities by de-designating inspectors. Kanaani said "any attempt to link the war in Ukraine to the bilateral co-operation between Iran and Russia is an act with only biased political goals", adding that some countries are "resorting to false claims to continue sanctions" against Iran. Tehran will continue its "constructive interaction and technical co-operation" with the IAEA, Kanaani said. But the agency's resolution is "politically biased", he said. Not an "anti-Iran" policy In an interview with the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia published today, IAEA director general Rafael Grossi refused claims of political bias. "We do co-operate with Iran. I don't deny this. This is important for inspection. My Iranian colleagues often say that Iran is the most inspected country in the world. Well, it is, and for good reason. But this is not enough," Grossi said, adding that the IAEA does not adhere to an "anti-Iran policy". Grossi also stressed the need for countries to return to diplomacy with Iran, while expressing concerns over the expansion of its nuclear programme. "Russia plays a very important role in this diplomacy, trying to keep the Iranian programme within a predictable and peaceful framework. But again, everything needs to be controlled," he said. The IAEA's new resolution and the reference to Iran in the G7 statement could be the start of a more concerted effort to raise pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme. "What is happening right now is the process of accumulation of resolutions, so that when the day comes and the IAEA makes a referral to the UN Security Council, there will be enough resolutions to make a case for action at the security council level," a diplomatic source told Argus . Iran is enriching uranium to as high as 60pc purity. Near 90pc is considered to be weapons grade, according to the IAEA. By Bachar Halabi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Japan’s Yatsushiro biomass plant starts operations


24/06/17
24/06/17

Japan’s Yatsushiro biomass plant starts operations

Tokyo, 17 June (Argus) — The 75MW Yatsushiro biomass power plant in south Japan's Kumamoto prefecture started commercial operations on 16 June. Yatsushiro is planning to generate around 480 GWh/yr and sell the electricity under Japan's feed-in-tariff scheme for 20 years. It burns 240,000 t/yr of wood pellets mainly imported from southeast Asia, including Vietnam, and 60,000 t/yr of wood chips that are domestically produced. The power plant was built by Japan's engineering firm IHI, which began construction in April 2022. IHI will also carry out regular maintenance and inspections. Chubu Electric Power own 49pc of Yatsushiro, along with 37pc held by Toho Gas and 14pc by energy joint venture Ene-Vision. Ene-Vision is 56.5pc owned by Japanese trading house Toyota Tsusho, 26.1pc by domestic farm machine and industrial engine manufacturer Yanmar, 8.7pc by engineering services firm Toyotsu Machinery and 8.7pc by Toho Gas. Another two biomass power plants are scheduled to become on line in Japan this summer, with Renova's 75MW Omaezaki venture in Shizuoka in July and the 50MW Ozu project in Ehime of Japanese upstream firm Japex and its partners in August. By Takeshi Maeda Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Iran rebukes G7 after warning over nuclear escalation


24/06/17
24/06/17

Iran rebukes G7 after warning over nuclear escalation

Dubai, 17 June (Argus) — Iran's foreign ministry has called on the G7 to distance itself from "destructive policies of the past" after the group issued a statement condemning Tehran's recent nuclear programme escalation. "Unfortunately, some countries, driven by political motives and by resorting to baseless and unproven claims, attempt to continue their failed and ineffective policy of imposing and maintaining sanctions against the Iranian nation," the foreign ministry's spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on 16 June. Kanaani advised the G7 "to learn from past experiences and distance itself from destructive past policies". His comments were in response to a joint statement from G7 leaders on 14 June warning Iran against advancing its nuclear enrichment programme. The leaders said they would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia. The G7's reference to Iran comes on the heels of a new resolution passed by the board of governors of the UN's nuclear watchdog the IAEA . The resolution calls on Iran to step up co-operation and reverse its decision to restrict the agency access to nuclear facilities by de-designating inspectors. Kanaani said "any attempt to link the war in Ukraine to the bilateral co-operation between Iran and Russia is an act with only biased political goals", adding that some countries are "resorting to false claims to continue sanctions" against Iran. Tehran will continue its "constructive interaction and technical co-operation" with the IAEA, Kanaani said. But the agency's resolution is "politically biased", he said. The IAEA's new resolution and the reference to Iran in the G7 statement could be the start of a more concerted effort to raise pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme. "What is happening right now is the process of accumulation of resolutions, so that when the day comes and the IAEA makes a referral to the UN Security Council, there will be enough resolutions to make a case for action at the security council level," a diplomatic source told Argus . Iran is enriching uranium to as high as 60pc purity. Near 90pc is considered to be weapons grade, according to the IAEA. By Bachar Halabi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australian industry urges support for gas-fired power


24/06/17
24/06/17

Australian industry urges support for gas-fired power

Sydney, 17 June (Argus) — Australian utilities and market experts have grown more vocal about the need for federal and state governments to support existing and future gas-fired power generation, as the country phases out coal-fired plants and transitions to a system with more renewables. The current lack of incentives could be worsened by potential distortions stemming from the federal government's Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS), which will support 32GW of new renewable capacity and storage but excludes gas, delegates heard during the Australian Energy Week 2024 organised by Quest Events in Melbourne last week. "If you're only supporting new renewables and you don't take care of existing gas assets, you run into trouble," utility Engie Australia and New Zealand's chief executive Rik De Buyserie said. While "hugely positive" for renewables, the scheme will "add headwinds to the business case for keeping gas-fired assets in market," he warned. Engie earlier this year decided to close two diesel-fired power plants in South Australia (SA) — the 75MW Port Lincoln and 63MW Snuggery — as they were not economical in an environment of rapid solar and wind penetration , which "raises questions on the future reliability of the system," De Buyserie said. South Australia has brought forward its 100pc renewable energy target by three years , to 2027 from 2030, although noting that gas-fired plants would need to continue to back up the system. Infrastructure group Atco, which operates a gas distribution system in Western Australia (WA), as well as gas-fired plants in WA and SA, has been running one of its units more flexibly, even though it was originally designed to operate as a base-load facility. "We've made some technical adjustments. But it really puts a lot of pressure on the machine. And starting and stopping it two or three times a week will increase the wear and tear," Atco Australia chief executive John Ivulich said. "We can do it for a period but it's not sustainable." There is a "growing awareness" of the importance of gas in the reliability of the electricity system for consultancy McKinsey partner Victor Finkel, which was underlined by the federal government in its long-awaited Future Gas Strategy . But incentives for long-term investment, if any, are yet to be developed. The Australian Energy Market Operator estimated in its draft 2024 Integrated Systems Plan that the National Electricity Market will need 16.2GW of gas-fired capacity by 2050, up from the existing 11.2GW, as coal-fired generation is phased out in the next decade. Around 8GW of existing gas-fired capacity is forecast or announced to retire and will need to be replaced, while 5GW of new capacity will need to be added. Support mechanisms Lobby groups, such as the Australian Energy Producers and the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association, have been calling for support mechanisms for gas-fired generation, which could be done by including the technology in the CIS or developing alternative schemes that provide long-term investment signals. The market will "definitely" need capacity mechanisms to support gas-fired peaking plants in the long term, as there is currently no market signal for new investments, according to the director of the Gas and Energy Transition Research Centre at the University of Queensland David Close. "As long as that is not fixed, I would struggle to see new gas-fired capacity coming on line," De Buyserie summarised. "It's just too risky based on merchant revenues." By Juan Weik Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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