Exhibition & Conference

13-16 September 2021

Singapore EXPO, Singapore

Technical Programme

Matteo Tirindelli

Project Development Services For Engineering

RINA Consulting S.p.A.

15:00 - 15:30

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

T3.1 ACP LNG Terminal in Panama: A Gas to Power Opportunity

The opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2016 increased the waterway’s ability to handle larger size LNG vessels and greater volumes of global LNG tanker traffic.  The Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP) is interested in promoting the development of LNG-related infrastructure in the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal to provide LNG for power generation facilities, facilitate the delivery of LNG bunkers to vessels transiting the waterway and calling to Panamanian ports, transforming Panama into a regional energy hub.   

During 2017-2018, RINA undertook a USTDA-funded study for the ACP to evaluate the feasibility of a Panama Canal LNG Terminal.  The implementation of a LNG Terminal in the Pacific entrance of the waterway would provide business opportunities for US stakeholders.

The study evaluated the potential demand for a Canal LNG Terminal, taking into account several areas of consumptions, including new Panamanian Power Plants, local/regional distribution to industry and ACP’s future needs of LNG for its power plant and floating equipment.  The presentation will focus on the LNG-to-Power findings of the study.

In 2017, ACP power generating facilities included a total generating capacity of 217 MW.  Given the capacity and the ability to be primarily a self-generating entity, ACP is recognized as within the top largest self-generators in Panama.  Considering the potential electrical demand of ACP Power Plant, RINA study evaluated costs/benefit of the retrofitting option to convert the Plant generators to gas-fired units.

Distribution of LNG from the Terminal to the local/regional industry also showed to be an important source of demand for LNG to Power.

Another source of potential LNG consumption linked to the Terminal, is the presence of a new Power Plant.  The existing local landscape for a Panama Canal LNG Terminal Project shows, among other aspects, that:

  • Three Power Purchase Agreement (PPAs) have been awarded by the National Secretariat of Energy and are located in the Atlantic coast of Panama;
  • There are no existing plans for a Pacific LNG Import Terminal, even though large regional population centers reside along the Pacific side, including the country’s capital city, and no PPA has been yet awarded with a Pacific location.

RINA study suggests that the implementation of a Panama Canal Pacific LNG Terminal is feasible, after evaluating the following aspects: technical, market, financial, environmental.  The study showed that the potential demand of LNG due to the presence of a new Panama Power Plant is the main contribution among all the areas of consumption.  The main take-home message of the study is that the presence of a new, large Power Plant in the Pacific side of the Panama Canal would be required in order to make the Panama Canal LNG Terminal Project feasible.