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From Tacna to Tumbes with natural gas: Peru’s new LNG corridor

From Tacna to Tumbes with natural gas: Peru’s new LNG corridor

With the inauguration of the new liquefied natural gas (LNG) loading point in Mala, under the EVA flag and as part of the Camisea LNG Corridor project (Lima-Tacna), the entire Peruvian coast, through the Panamericana Sur, It is ready to receive cargo transporters who choose to use this fuel that is up to 50% more economical than diesel.

Unlike CNG (compressed natural gas, also known as NGV), LNG is refilled as a liquid and regasified en route inside the trucks themselves. This allows it greater autonomy to travel long distances of between 1,000 and 1,500 km.

The Camisea and EVA initiative hopes to inaugurate, until the fortnight of August, two other charging stations, in Nasca (Ica) and La Joya (Arequipa). These three will be added to the one in Puente Piedra (Lima), in Cálidda; and those of Alto Moche (La Libertad) and Chiclayo (Lambayeque), operated by the Promigas group.

In this way, the private sector is committed to integrating the entire route between Tumbes and Tacna to facilitate more economical and less polluting land trade. It is estimated that tanking one of these trucks with LNG is around S/1,000, less than with diesel.

Pablo Saenz-Laguna, general manager of EVA—a company formed by the Peruvian Lima Gas and the Spanish HAM Criogenic—explains that both NGV and LNG represent a substantive advantage for transportation, since natural gas is a locally produced resource and with a regulated price that shields it from the international volatility of oil.

“There is a lot of agribusiness from Ica to Callao. With the Mala station, that distance could be covered, it depends on the route, but they act as a whole. We hope to have 120 trucks running on LNG between now and December [en todo el Perú] and exceed 200 in 2025,” says the executive.

The chicken or the egg

LNG is not the only alternative associated with natural gas for cargo truckers. The engines can also be adapted to operate with CNG, but with an additional tare that does not completely make the system efficient and with a range of about 800 km.

According to figures from the Ministry of Energy and Mines (Minem), there are a total of 474,063 vehicles with natural gas in Peru. As for taps, there are 5,894, of which 34 are CNG only, 209 are LPG and CNG, and 1,354 are LPG only. The task is long, since the dilemma remains as to whether the tap comes first and then the cars come, or the other way around.

Martín Mejía del Carpio, general director of Cálidda, explains that a CNG vehicle that travels 8,000 km per month saves around US$22,000 per year, if we compare it with petroleum derivatives. All in all, CNG is still cheaper than LNG, since it does not have to be liquefied.

The difference is that LNG truck fleets are purchased new, while CNG truck fleets, even when they can be converted, are renewed every five years. The price of a new CNG truck is around US$100,000, and an LNG truck is around US$140,000.

What is being converted to CNG, for about US$40,000, is the interprovincial transportation fleet, just as the Metropolitano operates with natural gas.

“Between CNG and diesel, the savings are 58% per year. Last year, around 2,000 trucks were converted from diesel to CNG; the Unicon fleet is there, with more than one hundred trucks. But we still have many trucks that do not cross the border of Lima and Callao, they arrive at Ica or Áncash, but not beyond, because we need LNG points or more stations nationwide with CNG,” he points out.

An international runner

In Lima and Callao, around 22,000 barrels of diesel are consumed every day, and that is equivalent to 119 million cubic feet that could be demanded if we put it into gas. Cálidda aims to serve 10% of that volume in the next three years, and there are projects to reach the mountains.

“We need to form a corridor not only for LNG, but also for CNG. Today we have minor efforts, there are a couple of stations in Cusco, there is one in Huancayo, then they are all in Lima, Ica and on the north coast. Compared to diesel, LNG savings reach 20%, but with a larger market it could reach 30% or 40%,” Mejía anticipates.

Miguel Maal, general manager of Quavii, adds that, to achieve sustainable development of the entire natural gas sector, “the only way is a levelized rate.” So, in the case of mobility based on the use of gas, a rate of this type with national scope is also key, because it will guarantee that the resource is competitive both for the automotive sector and for all customers.

“It will generate the conditions for greater investments that will allow expanding the coverage of distribution networks and more CNG and LNG stations throughout Peru,” says Maal.

Álvaro Ríos Roca, managing partner of Gas Energy Latin America, maintains that, in the future, an LNG corridor could be launched between Peru, Chile and Argentina, thanks to the resources of Camisea and Vaca Muerta. You could even reach southern Ecuador. It would be a before and after for trade between these countries.

“Natural gas is the most effective way to decarbonize the planet, because it is the most abundant element and is much cleaner. It can be used not only for transportation, but for electricity,” he assures.

However, it asks not to neglect the main objective of natural gas in Peru, which is the widespread use of natural gas in homes throughout the country. But this is not done through tanker trucks (virtual, like taps), but through gas pipelines that are still pending construction, some of them, with FISE resources.

“It is not overcrowded with trucks, but with networks and anchor demand for all families, with two or three more gas pipelines, as happens in Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia or Brazil. But it is crucial that we also continue exploring, since we only have gas for another 20 years,” he says.

Virtual massification of natural gas in the Peru

LNG is the same gas that is transported by tanker truck from a fractionation plant to the taps for refilling. It is also used in the massification of gas in homes: when there is no gas pipeline, liquid is taken by truck to a regasification plant, and from there the pipelines go to the houses.

This week, PERU LNG inaugurated its second LNG loading station, which will double the dispatch capacity of trucks that carry this resource to families in 10 regions in the north and south of the country. The station in operation has a supply capacity of 18 trucks daily and 126 weekly.

The best-located regions in the regional competitiveness index (ICR), prepared by Ceplan, are found in the central and southern area of ​​the country’s coast, from Lima to Tacna.

Agroexports are led by the coastal regions: La Libertad (20% of the total), Ica (19.5%), Piura (11.8%) and Lambayeque (7.3%), according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur).

According to Sunat figures, in 2022, the movement of foreign trade merchandise by land amounted to US$5,361 million, which represented a growth of 29.1% compared to the previous year, due to an increase in the volume traded, the which registered an increase of 9.3% compared to 2021.

Real massification is needed in Peru

Approach. Humberto Campodónico, energy specialist

The massification of gas is important because it has a regulated price, since it comes from Lot 88, which reverted to the State in the 1980s with more than 9 TCF of proven reserves. It is much cheaper than petroleum derivatives, which have a high international price and which Peru imports.

Massification is necessary, not only for home and vehicular use, but for commerce, industries and electricity generation. This can only be done with a network of gas pipelines, like the US, Europe, Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia. But in Peru there is only a gas pipeline to Lima and a small branch to Ica. The Gasoducto Sur had that purpose, but it was paralyzed due to Odebrecht’s corruption. Private initiatives for the use of LNG for trucks on the coast, as well as for the mountain regions by tanker, are important and should be welcomed, but insufficient. They do not solve the comprehensive problem. Lima consumes 650 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) per gas pipeline, while the Melchorita plants only produce 40 mmcfd for the rest of the country. In addition, it is more expensive than the one in Lima. For this reason, a level rate is urgently needed, a proposal that Congress has not approved for two years. As long as there is no national network of gas pipelines – whose promotion is the task of the State – there will be massive overcrowding.


Martín Mejía del Carpio, dir. General of Calidda

“We have a truck vehicle sector, especially heavy-duty transportation, that uses diesel. The transition involves first taking them to natural gas, which is cheaper and less polluting.”

Pablo Saenz-Laguna, grte. EVA general

“We began to integrate all of southern Peru, from Lima to Tacna. This is in addition to other private sector initiatives. In Chile, these taps can be processed in a month, the one in Mala took almost a year.”

Miguel Maal, thank you. general of Quavii

“We will continue to promote sustainable mobility as we have done since 2018. To the two LNG Green Corridor stations, which operate in Trujillo and Chiclayo, three additional stations will be added in the north.”

Source: Larepublica

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