Why did Colombia considerably increase fuel imports in April?

Why did Colombia considerably increase fuel imports in April?
Why did Colombia considerably increase fuel imports in April?

QFor the first time, since December 2022, Colombian imports once again registered an increase, This time it was 18.1 percent to reach 5,839 million dollars.

According to the criteria of

After manufacturing, Fuels were the second group that drove imports during this month, due to higher purchases of liquefied natural gas.

According to data revealed by Dane, Natural and manufactured gas contributed 26.5 percentage points to the 46.9 percent growth that recorded fuel imports.

Specifically, Natural gas imports totaled 126,858 million dollars, soared 6,528 percent in April, Because in the same month last year only 1,914 million dollars had been purchased.

Photo:EL TIEMPO Archive

A large part of these imports were made from the United States, There were more than 117,330 million dollars in purchases of natural gas that ended up marking the growth of 29.8 percent of the total imports made from this country.

This considerable increase is explained by the El Niño phenomenon and the operation of thermal plants that run on natural gas, such as Tebsa, Termocandelaria and Prime Termoflores, which are located in the Caribbean region.

April was the most critical time for the generation of electrical energy, because the drought led to the reservoirs used by hydroelectric plants reaching the lowest level in the last 40 years.

This caused the thermal plants to increase their operation and on some days they generated up to 56 percent of the electricity that Colombians consumed, when they normally contribute less than 20 percent.



According to data from the Natural Gas Market Manager, In April, natural gas imports reached a daily average of 433.3 million cubic feet per day (mcfd), a historical record which was mainly due to the need to ensure the energy supply in the country.

If this figure is compared to March 2024, imports increased by 15.4 percent. In total, gas imports in April represented 33.3 percent of the total gas demand in the country for that month, equivalent to 1,301 mpcd.

The natural gas that these three thermal generators need to operate is imported through Calamarí LNG, which for seven years has been the importing and marketing agent of this fuel in Colombia.

To make these imports Calamarí LNG uses the services of the Cartagena regasification plant, managed by Spec LNG, which was inaugurated in December 2016 to provide reliability to the electrical energy system in Colombia.

Cartagena Regasification Plant.


Thanks to these three thermal plants and the import of natural gas, during the El Niño phenomenon it was possible to attend 20 percent of national electricity demand.

These natural gas imports are necessary because The natural gas produced in Colombia is mainly used to meet household and industrial consumption.

The Cartagena regasification plant is not the only terminal that Colombia hopes to have to import natural gas, since for several years the Mining and Energy Planning Unit (Upme) has tried to award a similar project in the Pacific.


To bring the imported gas to the interior of the country, it is necessary to build a gas pipeline between Buenaventura and Yumbo (Valle del Cauca), which has been considered the great bottleneck for the entry into operation of this project on time.

As established in the regulation, the regasification plant, which would be located in Buenaventura, It must begin operating 58 months (approximately five years) after it is awarded.

It must be taken into account that currently Colombia is not at its best moment regarding natural gas resources. According to data from the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH), the country’s reserves are only enough for 6.1 years.

For seven years, natural gas reserves have been falling year after year, but the ANH is confident that this trend could change in 2024 because this year a significant portion of contingent resources could become reserves.

More than 60 percent of these contingent resources are the natural gas that Ecopetrol has discovered in recent years in the Colombian Caribbean Sea and which are currently in the evaluation process.

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