Natural Gas: A sector which promotes sustainable development in Antioquia
The report describes important advances in the development of natural gas in the department, such as the increase in the number of municipalities with natural gas, almost four times more than the rest of Colombia.
In the last three years, this number has grown at an average rate of 41%, greatly superior to the rate of 11% in the rest of the country, thanks to the Gas Natural Sin Fronteras (Natural Gas Without Borders) programme which, by the end of 2015, will have overseen the installation of natural gas services in 96 out of 125 Antioquian municipalities, with over a million users. If this trend continues, it is probable that by 2018 every municipality in Antioquia will be connected.
"It is worth mentioning that 81 % of residential natural gas users in the department belong to strata 1, 2 and 3, which is a faithful reflection of the socio-economic benefits which this fuel brings to the region," said Julio Turizzo, General Manager of Transmetano.
The demand for vehicular gas in the department reached a historic level of 7.1 Mpcd, a product of the collective efforts of all the actors in the chain and the support which the local government has provided through Metroplús and Emvarias. The latter represent a replacement of more than 300,000 gallons of diesel monthly, with a positive environmental impact for Medellín.
On 31st December 2014, Antioquia had 53,730 vehicles powered by CNG, equivalent to 11% of the national total. Medellín continues to hold third place among the cities with the greatest number of conversions.
Equally remarkable is the fact that, at the end of 2014, the average transported volume of natural gas in the department was a historical peak of 49 Mpcd, which demonstrates an average increase of 7% in the last five years, compared to 3% nationally.
Investments in the growth of the sector in Antioquia
We wish to highlight two significant investments which will be made in the coming years and will invigorate the sector, bringing growth and advances to the region.
The first is for the Malena compressor station. "With an investment of 45 million pesos, it will be constructed for Transmetano as an efficient response to the growing demand in the department, allowing the efficient, safe and continual delivery of the natural gas public service without affecting the transport tariff," stated Turizzo.
The station will be located in the municipality of Puerto Berrío, between kilometres 4 and 5 of the Transmetano Sebastopol – Medellín gas pipeline. Its conditions will increase the transport capacity of the pipeline system to 72 Mpcd. "This is the most important investment approved by CREG in the region's natural gas transport sector since the public service was introduced to Medellín in 1998," he added.
The other is for the La Alpujarra Thermal District, which will be constructed in Medellín. It will be the first of its kind in Latin America, and it is hoped that it will be replicated nationally, with a specific focus on the cities of Bogotá, Cali, Barranquilla and Cartagena.
It consists of an urban distribution system which produces steam and hot and cold water from a central plant and transports them via pipes to the district buildings for heating, domestic water and air conditioning. It will eliminate the need for buildings to have their own heaters, boilers or cooling equipment.
According to Turizzo, "this will be an innovation in the natural gas sector in Antioquia and Colombia, which will boost energy efficiency thanks to the use of natural gas." Construction of the thermal district is scheduled to begin at the end of 2015 and it is expected to begin operating in April 2016.
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- In the last five years, the volume of natural gas transported by Transmetano has grown consistently, with historical maximums every year and an average growth of 7% annually, a rate which far exceeds the national figure of 3 % for Colombia.
- Between 2015 and 2016 we hope to reach 26 new municipalities.
- 5 natural gas distribution companies serve Antioquia.
- In December 2014, 61 % of municipalities in Antioquia had natural gas services.
- Antioquia accounts for 5.2 % of the country's natural gas consumption.
- For five years, the industrial and commercial sector has been a leader in the demand for natural gas in Antioquia, with 265 industrial users connected in the last five years.
- 81 % of users in the department belong to strata 1, 2 and 3.
- Between 2010 and 2014, the average annual growth in the number of users in Antioquia was 15%, which far exceeds the average of 8% in the rest of the country.
- Between 2010 and 2014, 23,136 vehicles in Antioquia were converted to CNG and 14 CNG sustainable development strategies were implemented.
- The estimated investment in two large scale natural gas projects in Antioquia is 28 million USD.