The Monteverde Maritime Terminal was promoted as one of the “mega-constructions” of Ecuador under the supervision of the Vice Presidency of the Republic, headed by Jorge Glas.
It was inaugurated in June 2014, but its construction was made with overpriced millionaires and without the technical conditions that guarantee an adequate functioning, according to an evaluation prepared by the Spanish firm Consorcio ICC-Tecnatom.
The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage project, located in the province of Santa Elena, was designed in 2008 by the Ecuadorian Oil Fleet (Flopec) with an initial budget of $ 210 million, but passed to Petroecuador and ended costing $ 377 million, which means an additional 76.45%.
The main reason lies in the increase in the value of construction which in turn impacted on the costs of inspection and financing. The taxes, cost of financing and personnel expenses were not properly estimated. These and other anomalies were found by the Spanish company during the technical review in 2018, the results of which were presented on January 7 by the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources.
The evaluation was endorsed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Monteverde was conceived with the purpose of covering an expected deficit of 82% of the national demand for gas, because the country’s refineries at that time only produced 18%, according to the Flopec Investment Project.
The new facility would allow for a 25-day LPG reserve in case of shortages and would replace the existing floating storage system (Berge Racine), which was anchored off Punta Arenas, in southern Puná Island, more than 120 kilometers away from the site where the maritime terminal would be built.
In 2010, it was projected that gas demand would reach 1.3 million metric tons and in 2029 it would reach 2.2 million metric tons. The calculations were based on the authorization of the use of hydrocarbons in vehicles and new investments that Petroecuador would make, such as the Pacific Refinery (a work that after 11 years has not been completed).
The terminal was to store propane / butane gas produced at the Pacific Refinery, for its treatment, supply to domestic demand and export to the international market. The infrastructure has a pier of 1,383 meters in length and a depth of 23 meters. It is the second deepest in the world, after the pier of Rotterdam (Netherlands).
It was designed to operate vessels on its two sides with vessels of 19,000, 95,000 and 57,000 cubic meters. But the consortium concluded that the quay is oversized according to the size of the ships and the maximum volume transported. It is 483 meters long in excess, and another 10 meters too deep.
The terminal, says the evaluation report, was neither planned nor designed nor built in its entirety according to applicable standards. After its inauguration, additional studies were carried out that are not executed so far.
The access bridge and the platform (photo) do not include a cathodic protection system, which is the method to reduce or eliminate the corrosion of a metal. They did not comply with regulations and their length is not justified. For these and other anomalies detected the evaluation company recommends adjustments to international standards of the odorization system, drinking water system, corrosion control and more for $ 9 million.
In addition improvements for $ 4 million to conduct a coordination study of protections; repair of mincers in refrigerated tanks; environmental program; storage system, purification and transfer of diesel, replacement of discharge arms with others of greater capacity, among others.
The proposed solutions are quoted at $ 14.1 million with an implementation time of 350 days. Currently the plant has a nominal storage capacity of LPG, butane and propane of 60,000 metric tons. The investment of the project “is not optimal” because the demand of the terminal is 40% less than projected by Flopec. (I)