And its use brings significant savings for households, whether it is cook food (replacing the expensive LPG cylinder) as heat the water either air condition rooms, activities that demand high consumption of electrical energy, points out Erick García, former general director of hydrocarbons at Minem.

LOOK: Gas de Camisea: What happened to the promise of cheap natural gas for all Peruvians?

Hence the interest of the latest Governments in bringing these savings to the high Andean families and the south of the country, who are the ones who need it most to improve their quality of life.

In that sense, it is worth asking: What is this government doing to achieve this objective?

MOVEMENTS IN THE MINEM

Fresh we still have on our retina the image of the President Dina Boluarte announcing, in his message for National Holidaysthat “The dream of petrochemicals will come true with private investment in the south of the country”.

This, to guarantee a demand for natural gas that “make it viable to establish (gas) connections in every home in the south.”

In her message for National Holidays, President Dina Boluarte announced the development of petrochemicals. Half a year later, Minem has not made even slight progress on the issue (Photo: GEC)

And we also have fresh in our memory the many times that the Minister of Energy and Mines, Óscar Veracame out to announce the SIT Gas tender (formerly the southern Peruvian gas pipeline) throughout 2023.

As 2024 begins, we find, however, that not even the Marcona petrochemical (US$1.2 billion), driven by Enaexnor SIT-Gas (US$4.32 billion) have advanced a single millimeter beyond the words spoken to the audience.

For Walter Sciutto, general manager of Contugasit is frustrating that the Marcona petrochemical project is such an important project for the country in “a scenario where more investments are needed” (…) “we are still there, going around without even having clear signs of progress on the issue.”

This frustration gains notoriety in light of the intense activity that Minister Óscar Vera has been deploying to achieve the transfer of the greatest number of lots of hydrocarbons to Petro-Peru.

According to Erick García, this excessive predilection for the state oil company has caused Minem “neglect your own natural gas areas”, on which the advancement of the massification process depends.

It is the case of the Natural Gas Management Directorate, which does not have a regular director since 2021, nor a complete team, since “several of its members are resigning because they do not feel support”, he reveals.

The massification of natural gas is a cry from the south and center of the country.

The massification of natural gas is a cry from the south and center of the country.

“The massification of natural gas requires leadership, personnel and drive, and that is something that is the responsibility of the General Directorate of Hydrocarbons and, specifically, the director of Gas Natural. But where has he been for three years?“, asks the specialist.

As if this were not enough, Day 1 also learned of the occurrence of another important casualty at Minem: that of Vice Minister of Hydrocarbons Julio Poquiomawho would have been removed from his duties after just three months in office.

This, due to alleged discrepancies over the management of the ministry’s oil policy. In this chaotic scenario, what is the future of the massification of natural gas?

SEVEN REGIONS PROJECT

At the time of writing these lines there are 2 million homes (8 million people) connected to the natural gas service throughout Peru. Of that number, 1.8 million corresponds to Lima, 0.2 million to the most populated cities on the Peruvian coast and zero to the high Andean and jungle regionsto.

An unfulfilled promise of the last Governments has been, precisely, to extend this coverage to the regions of the central-southern mountain range, specifically, to Huancavelica, Junín, Ayacucho, Cusco, Apurímac, Puno and Ucayali.

That is, to the areas that at the time formed the project Seven Regions.

Major energy infrastructure projects continue in the pipeline.

Major energy infrastructure projects continue in the pipeline.

We are talking about an initiative that was put out to tender and declared deserted three consecutive times Proinversionn, because it was not economically viable for companies due to its “very small demand for gas“, Explain Martín Mejía, CEO of Cálidda.

Not only that, Álvaro Ríos, managing partner of Gas Energyhas counted seven failed processes to massify natural gas in said geographic area, including “the times there was talk of bringing gas from Bolivia”.

Due to these considerations, Minem decided to launch a few weeks ago a project to advance the massification of natural gas in the central mountains, beginning with 1,000 homes in the city of Huancavelicausing resources from Energy Social Inclusion Fund (FISE).

It is, explains Víctor Murillo, former Vice Minister of Hydrocarbonss, of an intermediate step to “break the stagnation barrier of the massification process in the central mountain and jungle regions.”

This, while Minem evaluates the options to definitively bring natural gas to this large and rugged area of ​​Peru.

One of them is the proposal presented by Cálidda to ‘assimilate’ the high Andean regions to their concession of Lima, so that these “can benefit from the same rate that households in the Metropolis pay”explains Mejía.

Pedro Castillo launched the massification of Camisea gas in the high Andean regions several times during his government.  It remains an unfulfilled promise in the Dia Boluarte government.

Pedro Castillo launched the massification of Camisea gas in the high Andean regions several times during his government. It remains an unfulfilled promise in the Dia Boluarte government.

To this end, the company has requested that its concession contract be extended for ten more years through an addendum that is currently being reviewed by Osinergmin, the Comptroller’s Office, Minem, the MEF and Proinversión.

According to Ríos, it is a mechanism that worth passing because massification can advance more quickly than if the project were put out to tender again or if it were handed over to another concessionaire without the ‘know-how’ and the natural gas demand“what Cálidda handles in Lima (95% of the national total).”

This, while the gas pipelines to the south are being consolidated, “which are still seen a little further away”. How much?

THE COASTAL DUCT

Little is known at this point about the future of the SIT Gas either south peruvian gas pipelinethe most ambitious initiative of the Peruvian State to bring Camisea gas to the south of the country.

According to Erick García, the project would have returned to a clean slate, which means that it would see the light of day after ten years, which is the time it would take to rework the engineering studies and environmental impactas well as relaunch the call and develop the construction process.

Given this perspective, the development of the coastal pipeline between Marcona (Ica) and the cities of Ilo (Moquegua) and Mollendo (Arequipa)a US$1.5 billion project promoted by Contugas.

The construction of gas pipelines is essential to ensure that natural gas becomes widespread and reaches users at a low cost.

The construction of gas pipelines is essential to ensure that natural gas becomes widespread and reaches users at a low cost.

We are talking about an initiative that “It is not exclusive with SIT Gas”, but “yes, more efficient because it costs three times less”point Walter Sciutto.

This, due to its lower complexity, since it only requires the laying of a 320 kilometer long pipeline along the coast, in a fairly flat terrain that does not exceed 1,000 meters above sea level, reason why “could be built in just 18 months”, points out the executive.

At this point, Contugas visualizes the construction of branches towards Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna (South West Concession) cities that today are supplied with natural gas virtually (trucks) at an excessive cost.

It is, however, an initiative on which the Government “has not given clear signals”, but that the private sector has been working, explains Sciutto.

This, given the apparent disinterest of Minem, which seems more concerned with rescuing Petro-Perú from its critical situation than in developing projects that bring well-being to the country’s most needy population.



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