Some $ 19.2 million will have to be invested in the Bajo Alto natural gas liquefaction plant to operate under international efficiency and safety standards. Thus, the work that initially had to cost $ 36 million and ended in $ 76 million would reach almost $ 95.2 million.
The plant, built in El Oro by Ros Roca Indox, was audited by international companies endorsed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It presents, among its main and most expensive problems, subsidence and a deficient supply of energy for the plant.
The subsidence occurred, according to the report, due to incomplete design and poor construction. Is that, according to the study conducted by the Spanish company Tecnatom, there was no preparation of the land or a geotechnical report.
There would also be signs of poor execution of fillings and foundations.
The foundation works would cost $ 6.9 million; the report states that “the perimeter of the slabs must be rebuilt by installing piles approximately 80 cm in diameter, joined by a mooring head beam between them, and interspersed with gravel columns”. He also advises “in some areas, to demolish and reconstruct the slab on which the main elements are located”.
As for the power supply of the plant, a “serious error” had been committed. Being a gas plant, diesel engines were purchased for power generation. Then they were tried to adapt to gas.
The auditor recommends buying gas engines that could cost $ 8.9 million. Despite having a very close source of electricity, that is, the Termomachala power plant, the same international company recommends that the plant does not depend on the National Interconnected System, as it claims that it is not reliable.
The report also indicates that after the series of remediations that should be done to the plant, it could have to stop for 150 days.
Although it is currently operating at 50%, the question that arises is what will happen to the gas from the Amistad field that reached Bajo Alto.
According to the figures of Petroamazonas, which manages the offshore gas field, this year Termomachala will require 63 million cubic feet per day of natural gas; Low High, 12 million feet; and Gasvesubio (a plant of the Eljuri Group, up against Bajo Alto), 14 million.
Petroamazonas explained that if the plant comes to a halt, the production that was consumed by Bajo Alto would pass directly, through its dehydrating plant, to Termomachala, so there would be no waste.
He explained that currently natural gas cannot be stored, so it must be consumed online, at the same time it is produced.
However, according to industry sources, Termomachala’s demand for natural gas is well below the figures that Petroamazonas would expect.
The role played by Gasvesubio in the new circumstances is still unknown. A few months ago, the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources asked the Comptroller’s Office to examine the contract signed with Petroecuador for the provision of 14 million cubic feet.
According to the report of the Spanish Tecnatom, at the beginning of the construction of the plant (November 2009) they did not have the environmental license (issued in November 2010), which implies that the environmental construction aspects were not met in the main construction contract nor the monitoring plans during the execution of the work. (I)