San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New Inter-Oceanic Pipeline Proposed in Panama

PANAMA CITY – Spanish company Centro Energético de las Américas said it plans to build an industrial park and interoceanic pipeline in Panama at a cost of $35 billion over the next 20 years.

Company Vice-Chairman Luis Marín reviewed the plan Aug.16 before the National Assembly’s Panama Canal Affairs Committee.

Centro Energético de las Américas is headed by Spanish businessman Jesus Barderas, who is lining up financing for the project with Dominican businessman Abraham Hazoury and Marín, a Venezuelan petrochemical engineer who is designing the industrial complex.

Barderas, who is a partner in several ventures with Hazoury in the Dominican Republic, said that the project is based on one already in operation on JurongIsland, a manmade island located southwest of the main island of Singapore.

The company has acquired 1,600 hectares in the town of María Chiquita, on Panama’s Atlantic coast, for the industrial project.

“We are going to build a base with the necessary infrastructure so that all types of companies, especially those that produce fuel, can open up shop there and operate, with the capacity to produce 2 million barrels per day,” said company director Henry Jiménez.

Jurong Island’s refineries currently process 1.3 million barrels of crude per day.

“This industrial park will be totally self-contained, that is, it will recycle all its materials,” Jiménez said.

The complex will be linked via a 90-kilometer pipeline, which will run parallel to the Panama Canal, to a platform the company plans to build on the Pacific.

Barderas said that the project “strictly meets all the requirements of Panamanian legislation, the World Bank and the Kyoto Protocol.”

The Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, called for industrialized nations to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% from 1990 levels in an effort to slow global warming.

Work on the project’s first phase, which will cost an estimated $1 billion, is expected to begin at the end of this year and finish in 2009, creating 5,000 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs, according to the company.

The project still needs the approval of the environmental regulation agency, the Panama Canal Authority, the Trade Ministry and the Housing Ministry.


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