Panama Canal Can’t Handle U.S. LNG Boom

12 Dec 2017   LNG, Panama

The International Energy Agency recently predicted that the United States could become the world’s top LNG exporter within ten years. This prediction, however, is far from a certain one. The U.S. LNG boom is fraught with challenges, the latest among them, apparently, the Panama Canal . LNG producers and the Panama Canal Authority are locked in an argument about whose fault it is that not enough LNG tankers are using the freshly expanded channel that saves 11 days from the journey to Asia, which has become a key market for U.S. LNG. According to the producers, the canal has expanded the access of cargo vessels at the expense of LNG tankers. According to the authority, LNG producers can’t comply with timetables. The facts are as follows: the expansion of the Panama Canal has been going more slowly than initially planned. To date, only one LNG tanker a day can […]

The Panama Canal Is Now a Major Problem for U.S. Shale

9 Dec 2017   Panama

A boom in natural-gas exports creates new challenges Last-minute schedule changes for LNG tankers headed to Asia It seemed at the time like a somewhat random, and amazingly fortuitous, coincidence. Just as the Panama Canal was unveiling a new, fatter set of locks, U.S. shale drillers were readying their very first exports of liquefied natural gas. While the wide-body tankers that transport LNG would’ve had no chance of squeaking through the original steel locks built a century ago, they could easily traverse the bigger channel and shave 11 days off the trip to primary markets in Asia. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg But 17 months in, it’s not quite working out as planned. Only a single LNG tanker has a guaranteed passage each day. The natural-gas industry blames the Panama Canal Authority for holdups, and the canal authority blames the industry for being lackadaisical about transit timetables. Whoever’s at fault, this […]

The Panama Canal’s Big Bet Is Paying Off

9 Oct 2017   Panama

Since the start of the year, transiting tonnage at the Panama Canal has increased by nearly 23%. Above, a ship makes its way through the locks at the Panama Canal in August. “It’s an unprecedented increase and demand is driven by the expanded East Coast and U.S. Gulf ports that have been preparing for the new locks,” said Manuel Benitez, the Panama Canal Authority’s deputy administrator. The widened waterway means importers as far inland as Tennessee could find it cheaper to bring in Asian goods to ports like New York, Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., rather than move them by rail and truck from West Coast ports, which handle about two-thirds of Asia-to-Americas trade. The Panama Canal is also helping U.S. exporters of natural gas send bigger loads to Asian markets. “We are very big users of the Panama Canal,” said Anatol Feygin, chief commercial officer of Cheniere Energy […]

Panama Canal Authority, shippers work to double LNG capacity

5 Oct 2017   LNG, Panama

The Panama Canal Authority is working with LNG shippers towards doubling the capacity set aside for LNG vessels by next October, the PCA said Wednesday. The PCA is working towards allowing two LNG vessels a day to transit the canal, from the single slot currently available. “Currently all LNG transits are limited to daylight hours. We are working towards lifting some transit restrictions by the third quarter of next year,” the PCA said in a statement, adding that there are currently no transit delays. Article continues below… Platts LNG Daily is vital reading as LNG supply dynamics continue to change in big markets like Japan, China, Middle East, India, Australia, South America and the US. This premier independent news and pricing publication for the global LNG industry gives readers information on every aspect of the global market from new LNG supply projects and contracts to gas pricing analysis. Request […]

Panama Canal to see daily LNG carrier transits within 4 years, says CEO

3 May 2017   Panama

The number of LNG carrier transiting the Panama Canal could average one a day by 2021 as more US supply comes on stream and targets demand in North Asia, according to Panama Canal Authority CEO Jorge L. Quijano. “During the past nine months of operation of the Panama Canal we have seen LNG flows that we never expected a few years back,” Quijano said on the sidelines of the Sea Asia Conference, held in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week 2017 last week. The initial projection was for one LNG ship a week but this had already reached three to four ships, he said. Much of the future traffic will be driven by emerging LNG exports from the US, of which some will pass through the canal, he said. Cheniere has three fully operational LNG trains at Sabine Pass on the US Gulf Coast, with a fourth train undergoing […]

Shell gets access to oil hub in Panama: sources

23 Mar 2017   Panama

Royal Dutch Shell agreed to lease capacity at a large oil terminal in Panama that has been used by U.S. refiner Tesoro Corp, sources involved in the deal told Reuters, gaining much-needed storage for its crude operations. The facility, designed for storage and transshipment of oil, is owned by Petroterminal de Panama and provides up to 14 million barrels of storage capacity, a pipeline network that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and docks for very large tankers. “We have signed a contract with Shell for a three-year period involving all the available space we have,” said an official from the Panamanian government. It remained unclear when the contract would start and the capacity involved, but the source said the deal will soon be submitted to the Finance Ministry’s board of […]

Tankers: Panama Canal delays reduced but still averaging three-six days

26 Jan 2017   Panama

The waiting time for non-booked Panamax-class vessels on the Panama Canal is about six days, a Panama Canal Authority manager said Wednesday. “Neopanamax slots are almost 100% sold for the next two weeks so any Neopanamax vessel that arrives without a booking slot confirmed may have to wait several days for transit,” said the manager, from the canal authority’s Traffic Management and Admeasurement Section. The Panama Canal Authority was “allocating all resources” to bring the backlog back to normal levels, he added. “Regular vessels” face delays of three days, the manager added. Regular ships are defined as those under 91 feet in beam, according to agency Wilford & McKay. The transit delays are down from January 17 when all non-booked vessels were facing average delays of seven to eight days. A return to a normal backlog was expected to take several days as it is highly dependent on the […]

Panama Canal to recognize ships with high environmental efficiency: ACP

4 Nov 2016   Climate, Panama

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has launched the Environmental Premium Ranking, a new initiative to reward shippers with vessels meeting high environmental efficiency standards starting January 1, 2017. The new incentive will award customers with points to improve their position in the canal’s customer ranking system when booking for transit through the Panama Canal, the authority said in a statement Monday. To qualify, vessels must meet one of two levels in the energy design index threshold, the environmental ship index threshold, or the low nitrogen threshold, or run their engine on LNG bunker fuel. Shippers must request participation and provide supporting documentation proving the environmental efficiency rating at least 96 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival at the canal. “With the addition of the Environmental Premium Ranking to our Recognition Program, we’re rewarding those who make conscious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in technology that will […]

Panama Canal readies for surge in tonnage after upgrade

28 Oct 2016   Panama

The Panama Canal is likely to attract up to 15 percent more tonnage next year after an upgrade which means it can now accommodate gas tankers previously too large to transit, its operator said on Thursday. The expanded canal opened in June, fitted with new locks that allow ships three times bigger than previously to pass through. “We expect to get … more tonnage specifically because of the expansion,” Panama Canal Authority Chief Executive Jorge Quijano told Reuters in an interview at the Danish Maritime Forum conference in Copenhagen. “Hitting those targets will of course depend on the (global) economy … […]

Panama Canal revises upward draft restriction for Neopanamax locks

6 Aug 2016   Panama

The Panama Canal Authority has revised upward the draft restriction for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks to 13.41 meters (44 feet) effective immediately. “This draft limit is based on the current level of Gatun Lake and the weather forecast for the following weeks,” the authority, also known as the ACP, said Friday. The ACP had first announced in mid-May that the draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks would be restricted to 12.8 meters (42 feet) from June 27 — when the new locks were to open for commercial traffic. But on May 31 the maximum draft limitation for the Neopanamax locks was revised upward to 13.11 meters (43 feet) starting June 27. The Neopanamax locks have been designed to accommodate draft of up to 50 feet. No draft restrictions are currently in place for the old Panamax locks, which have a maximum allowable draft of 12.03 meters (39.5 […]

Expanded Panama Canal reduces travel time for shipments of U.S. LNG to Asian markets

1 Jul 2016   Panama

Note: Calculations assume export from the Sabine Pass liquefaction terminal at an average LNG Carrier speed of 19.5 knots and one-day transit time through the Panama and Suez Canals. The newly expanded Panama Canal will be able to accommodate 90% of the world’s current liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers with LNG-carrying capacity up to 3.9 billion cubic feet (Bcf). Prior to the expansion, only 30 of the smallest LNG tankers (6% of the current global fleet) with capacities up to 0.7 Bcf could transit the canal. The expansion has significant implications for LNG trade, reducing travel time and transportation costs for LNG shipments from the U.S. Gulf Coast to key markets in Asia and providing additional access to previously regionalized LNG markets. The new locks in the canal provide access to a wider lane for vessels and […]

Panama opens canal extension, only a dozen heads of state attend

27 Jun 2016   Panama

A cargo ship is pictured crossing through the Miraflores locks, a day before the inauguration of the Panama Canal Expansion project, in Panama City, Panama June 25, 2016. Panama opened the long-delayed expansion of its shipping canal on Sunday with just a dozen of the 70 heads of state invited to see the debut of the third set of locks attending the ceremony. Analysts said the rank of those leading the delegations was affected by the Panama Papers scandal, in which millions of documents were leaked from law firm Mossack Fonseca, revealing how some of the world’s richest people use offshore companies to avoid tax and launder money. Panama’s foreign ministry said the event was a diplomatic success, with representatives from nearly all the invited countries in attendance, including from China, Japan, Peru, South Korea, Colombia and Mexico, as well as executives from top shipping firms and thousands of […]

Panama Canal expansion unlikely to significantly change crude oil, petroleum product flows

24 Jun 2016   Panama

On June 26, the Panama Canal Authority, the body that operates the Panama Canal, will inaugurate a third set of locks, which will allow for the transit of larger ships. This is the first such expansion since the canal was completed in 1914. With the exception of U.S. propane exports, the expansion of the Panama Canal is not likely to drastically affect crude oil and petroleum product flows. Entrances to the Panama Canal are near Colon, Panama, on the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea) side, and near Panama City on the Pacific Ocean side. The canal expansion involved deepening and widening certain portions of the canal and constructing an additional, larger set of locks. Unlike the old lock system, which has two lanes of side-by-side traffic, the new set of locks will be one large lane and allow four transits per day, supplementing the 25 […]

The New Panama Canal: A Risky Bet

23 Jun 2016   Panama

On July 8, 2009, the champagne finally flowed. After an intense two-year competition, a consortium led by a Spanish company in severe financial distress learned that its rock-bottom bid of $3.1 billion had won the worldwide competition to build a new set of locks for the historic Panama Canal. The unlikely victors toasted their win at La Vitrola, a sleek restaurant in an upscale neighborhood east of downtown Panama City. Within days, executives of the four-nation consortium, Grupo Unidos por el Canal, flew to Europe to begin planning the project. This time, there would be no champagne. Disputes quickly erupted over how to divide responsibilities. Some executives appeared not to fully grasp how little money they had to complete a complex project with a tight deadline and a multicultural team whose members did not always see things the same way. Internal arguments soon gave way to […]

Panama Canal’s new, expanded locks at ‘full operability’

2 Jun 2016   Panama

The consortium designing and building the Panama Canal’s new set of expanded locks says they are working at full capacity and ready to receive their first ships. Grupo Unidos por el Canal SA says the locks were “brought to full operability” Tuesday. GUPC said Wednesday in a statement that the system “works to perfection.” The locks are designed to accommodate massive ships known as “New Panamax” that are too large for the previous ones. A formal inauguration of the $5.25 billion canal expansion is planned for June 26. The project was originally supposed to be completed in October 2014. GUPC is led by Italy’s Salini Impregilo and also comprises Spain’s Sacyr Vallehermoso, Belgium’s Jan De Nul and Panama’s Constructora Urbana SA.

Panama Canal Fever Sweeps Globe Again as New Era in Trade Nears

25 May 2016   Panama

As U.S. gas exports ramp up, new route will slash time to Asia A century after transforming global markets, the Panama Canal is about to redraw world trade once again. An expanded section of the Panama Canal seen from the control tower. Nine years of construction work, at a cost of more than $5 billion, have equipped the canal with a third set of locks and deeper navigation channels, crucial improvements that will double the isthmus’s capacity for carrying cargo between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. When the new locks slide open to receive traffic for the first time in late June, the reverberations will be felt from Asian gas terminals to Great Plains farms and ports from Miami to Long Beach to Santiago. The debut coincides, fortuitously, with a surge in U.S. natural-gas production that has shale outfits suddenly seeking out new export markets. The deeper channels will […]

The agony of Venezuela continues

25 May 2016   Panama

NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTS, including the Obama administration, last week called for political negotiations in Venezuela to head off an incipient and potentially catastrophic breakdown of political and economic order. Former Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero traveled to Caracas with other statesmen to urge President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leaders to start talking. But Mr. Maduro was otherwise occupied. At the end of the week, he ordered tanks, aircraft and soldiers to patrol the country, claiming — not for the first time — that he was trying to head off a U.S. invasion. Thus does the delusional heir of Hugo Chávez drag a country of 30 million people, with the world’s largest oil reserves , over a cliff. By most measures, Venezuela […]

Panama Canal sets further draft restrictions for ships as drought continues

5 Apr 2016   Panama

The Panama Canal Authority has imposed further draft restrictions for vessels transiting through the canal effective April 29 due to ongoing El Nino-related droughts in the region. In a shipping advisory Friday, the authority said the maximum allowable draft will be reduced further to 11.74 meters (38.5 feet) from April 29. This is the second restriction announced this year. On March 21, the authority, also known as the ACP, said it would temporarily lower the maximum allowable draft for transiting vessels to 11.89 meters (39 feet) from April 18. “As in the past, draft restrictions will be implemented in 15 cm (6 inch) decrements at a time, with each restriction announced at least four weeks in advance,” the ACP said in the Friday advisory. Article Continues below… Dirty Tankerwire delivers the most important developments in the dirty tanker market, daily, direct to your desktop. Extensive listings and clear analysis […]

Panama Canal sets draft restrictions due to El Nino-related drought

11 Aug 2015   Panama

The Panama Canal Authority said it will temporarily lower the maximum allowable draft for vessels transiting through the Panama Canal in September due to El Nino-related droughts, the first such restriction in nearly 20 years. The maximum allowable draft will be lowered to 11.89 meters (39 feet), from the current level of 12.04 meters (39.5 feet) from September 8, in a move that could affect almost 20% of vessels transiting the canal. “These temporary and preventive measures are due to an anticipated climatic variability event related to El Nino … it has triggered a drought in the Canal Watershed, causing the water levels of Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes to fall substantially below their average for this time of year,” the Panama Canal Authority, or ACP, said in shipping advisory Friday. El Nino is a phenomenon marked by a warming of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific and can […]

Panama Canal expansion reaches 85% completion; first Pacific lock gate installed

23 Jan 2015   Panama

The Panama Canal expansion project is now 85% complete, following the installation Monday of the first lock gate at the waterway’s Pacific entrance, the Panama Canal Authority said.   The gate, located in what is known as lock head one, is the first of eight gates that will be installed on the Pacific side of the waterway.  The expansion project will see eight gates installed on both the Atlantic and Pacific ends of the canal. The installation of the gates for the new locks began in December 2014 at the Atlantic side, where two gates have already been installed, the authority said.  “[Monday’s] installation marks an important step towards the completion of the expansion program,” said Panama Canal Administrator and CEO Jorge Quijano. “This project will have an important impact on world maritime trade and will further position Panama as the logistic hub of the Americas.”

Panama Canal expansion will allow transit of larger ships with greater volumes

18 Sep 2014   Panama

Ships carrying crude oil and petroleum products are limited by size restrictions imposed by several of the main thoroughfares of maritime navigation: the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Malacca. These size restrictions provide another way to classify the large tankers that carry most of global crude oil and petroleum product trade. The Panama Canal , an important route connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, currently has a limited role in global crude and petroleum product transport. The canal’s current size restrictions means smaller vessels, with capacities of approximately 400,000-550,000 barrels of light sweet crude oil, are the only ships that can safely pass through the canal. These ships are referred to as Panamax tankers, and their smaller cargos lead to a higher per-barrel cost. However, the Panama Canal is undergoing an expansion that will allow for the passage of […]

Expansion of Panama Canal expected to open in 2016

10 Sep 2014   Panama

Panama’s president says the major expansion of the Panama Canal will be completed in time to open for business in the beginning of 2016. The project is expected to be finished in December 2015, and President Juan Carlos Varela says it will open early the following year, despite construction setbacks. A dispute with the European consortium that is expanding the canal led to a two-week work stoppage earlier this year. Varela said Tuesday in Spain that Panama is working closely with Madrid and with Spanish company Sacyr, which is leading the consortium. The $5.25 billion project aims to reduce congestion and expand capacity. The new channel will be able to accommodate ships with twice the cargo capability of vessels that currently traverse the existing canal.

Pemex CEO Begins Chevron-to-BP Talks as Production Slumps

16 Aug 2014   Iraq, Panama

For Petroleos Mexicanos Chief Executive Officer Emilio Lozoya, the arrival of foreign oil producers after a 76-year hiatus can’t come soon enough.  Facing deteriorating output and a lack of resources to develop new finds, the 39-year-old former World Economic Forum executive said he’s in talks with all major producers as Mexico accelerates the opening of its oil industry. At the same time, he’s considering revising production estimates as water content rises at aging fields such as Cantarell, once the world’s third-largest deposit.  Lozoya is charged with transforming the state monopoly into a competitive enterprise under new rules allowing greater private investment. He’s seeking to reverse a decade-long production decline by establishing 10 joint ventures in mature, onshore and offshore areas by December 2015.

Panama Weighs Another Canal Expansion at Centennial Mark

16 Aug 2014   Panama

A century after the U.S. steamship Ancon first sailed through the Panama Canal, a $5.3 billion expansion delayed by bickering contractors and angry workers is nearing completion. The problem is it might not be big enough. With the expansion 16 months behind schedule, canal administrator Jorge Quijano said officials are studying whether to dig a fourth set of locks to handle a growing fleet of super-sized ships. Those include the 400-meter-long “Triple E” vessels capable of carrying more than 18,000 containers, four times more than current ships passing through the canal. “We are always analyzing the market and as soon as we can economically justify it we will begin,” said Manuel Benitez, deputy administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, adding that he thinks the current expansion is sufficient for now. “If that changes and the demand exists we are ready to begin.” Panamanian officials today will celebrate the anniversary […]

Japan Protests Planned Limits on Panama Canal Ships

24 Apr 2014   Panama

Japan has protested to Panama about planned limits on the size of ships in the Panama Canal, saying they could prevent some U.S. natural gas from reaching customers in Asia. The issue has cast a pall over hopes for expanded trade in natural gas after the widening of the canal, scheduled for completion in early 2016. The U.S., enjoying a newfound abundance of natural gas thanks to technological advances, has opened the door to exports, and Japanese companies have eagerly signed up for U.S. supplies to make up for idled nuclear power after the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co. ‘s Fukushima Daiichi complex. The widening of the canal will open the way for the first time to liquefied-natural-gas carriers. Currently the LNG carriers must take a more circuitous route from eastern North America to Asia. But Panama has set a width limit of 49 meters for […]

Expanded Panama canal ‘should be in operation’ by Jan 2016

7 Mar 2014   Panama

The Panama Canal Authority expects the expanded canal “should be in operation by January 2016” after a trial period, Silvia de Marucci, ACP’s manager of marketing and forecasting, said Friday. Marucci made the comments in response to a question at the International LP Gas Seminar in Tokyo. “In January 2016, we are expecting to be operational” after a period of testing at both the Atlantic and Pacific side of locks, Marucci said. At the moment, the expansion is 65% complete, she added. The latest target is seven months behind a previous estimate of June 2015. The project was originally scheduled for completion this year. Next week, ACP intends to sign a final agreement with its contractor for the expansion project, Marucci told Platts ahead of the conference Friday. “Works were stopped about a month ago but resumed two weeks ago and we are very […]

Deal Reached on Panama Canal Expansion

28 Feb 2014   Panama

Panama and a consortium of European construction firms, which have been locked in a bitter dispute over cost overruns on a multibillion-dollar project to expand the Panama Canal, say they have reached a preliminary deal to end the spat and ensure final completion of the work. A final agreement still needs to be signed but both sides said this could happen as early as this weekend. Panama says the deal will allow for the expansion of the canal, which stretches 50 miles through the Central American isthmus between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, to still be completed by the end of 2015. The $5.2 billion construction project on the 100-year-old waterway began in 2007, an effort to widen and deepen the canal so larger ships could fit through. When finished, Panama stands to greatly increase its more than $1 billion in annual revenue from toll fees. The U.S., which […]

Ports, Shipping Companies Retool for Bigger Panama Canal

18 Feb 2014   Panama

Shipbuilders are cranking out ever-bigger container vessels and the world’s major ports are dredging deeper, all on account of an ambitious multibillion-dollar project to widen the Panama Canal—an endeavor currently stalled by a contract dispute. More than just the canal is tangled up in the acrimonious battle between Panama and the builders over $1.6 billion in cost overruns. “There are many cities, countries and port authorities who are spending billions of dollars in anticipation of the traffic that will come from that newly expanded canal,” said Adam Putnam, Florida’s commissioner of agriculture. “So, there will be an impact if there is an extended delay.” The dispute so far has halted construction for two weeks and now threatens to delay the project by at least three years beyond the proposed completion date of December 2015. Negotiators say they are hopeful of a settlement as soon as Tuesday. Still, even […]

Panama Canal chief reports progress in dispute

12 Feb 2014   Panama

Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano says the agency has reached tentative agreement on some issues in efforts to resolve a dispute that has halted work on a major expansion plan. But Quijano also says the Authority might take over the project if no final agreement with the contractors is reached this week. He spoke Wednesday during a chamber of commerce meeting. The contractors say work has gone $1.6 billion over budget and they have demanded the authority pay. The dispute has threatened to delay the biggest expansion of the canal since it opened a century ago. © 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use . Latest News Latest Winter Games News ©2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Terms under which this site is provided. […]

Panama Canal Expansion on ‘Brink of Failure’ Due to Financing Dispute

6 Feb 2014   Panama

Work to expand the Panama Canal so bigger ships can fit through the 100-year-old waterway has virtually ground to a halt, and the consortium in charge of the construction effort said the project is now on the “brink of failure” after talks broke down between the contractors and Panama’s government over who is going to pay for $1.6 billion in cost overruns. The storied canal, built by American engineers, is among the world’s most vital shipping routes, acting as a shortcut between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans that shaves nearly two weeks off travel times for ships that otherwise would need to travel around South America at Cape Horn. But the canal has become too narrow for the world’s ever-larger ships, including those hauling products such as natural gas and other fuels. Countries including the U.S., which is fast becoming a net exporter of natural gas as it uses […]

Panama Canal Expansion: Standoff Worries Locals

20 Jan 2014   Panama

ABOARD THE MAERSK BATAM, On the Panama Canal—Everything about this Danish-flagged ship is big. It is longer than two football fields, as high as a seven-story building and carries 3,000 cargo containers weighing 30,000 tons. But as shipyards from India to Korea continue to build vessels that are longer, wider and taller, the Maersk Batam actually is a midsize ship. Some people even call it small. “Not that there’s anything wrong with smaller ships,” says Capt. Mike Hands, a Briton who has spent 40 of his 57 years working on ships. “Smaller ships go to smaller ports, which are always more interesting,” he says, as the Batam begins its 10-hour passage through the Panama Canal. Interesting isn’t what the Panama Canal is about. Panama’s government has kicked off a multibillion-dollar project to widen the canal’s navigation channels and build larger locks—the pools of water that lift boats from sea […]

Panama Canal expansion project: Have American fears come true?

14 Jan 2014   Panama

The US has a lot riding on a successful expansion of the Panama canal More than four years ago, when Panama awarded the lucrative contract to expand its inter-oceanic canal to a mostly European consortium, the United States was not pleased. An American company whose bid was unsuccessful, Bechtel, thought the winning tender would barely pay for pouring the concrete and that the consortium would probably try to renegotiate the price at some stage during the construction process. Some might argue that those American doubts have been justified, especially in view of the ongoing economic row between the European consortium and the Panamanian government agency that runs the waterway. The spat has threatened to bring work to a grinding halt , unless the two parties manage to resolve a $1.6bn (£1bn) dispute over cost overruns. A series of […]

Petrovietnam Suspends Venezuela Oil Production

14 Jan 2014   Panama, Vietnam

Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, or Petrovietnam, has suspended production of crude oil at a block in Venezuela, citing a tough economic conditions. “Basically, we are just slowing things down, and we haven’t decided to withdraw from the project yet,” said Pham Ngoc Khue, head of the investment and development division of PVEP, the Petrovietnam unit that jointly operates the Junin-2 block in Venezuela’s Orinoco belt with Petróleos de Venezuela SA. “The investment environment there is not suitable for us right now—and even for several other foreign investors,” Mr. Khue said Tuesday. PVEP previously said the project started producing oil in October 2012, with an initial target of 200,000 barrels of crude a day by 2016. The block is Petrovietnam’s only operation in Venezuela. A Petrovietnam official said on condition of anonymity that skyrocketing inflation in Venezuela makes the cost of doing business there too high. Consumer prices in […]

Talks Fail to Resolve Dispute Over Panama Canal Expansion Costs

8 Jan 2014   Panama

The Panama Canal Authority and a consortium of international companies overseeing a multibillion-dollar construction project to widen the canal met on Tuesday but failed to resolve a dispute over huge cost overruns that threaten to derail the historic undertaking. The Panama Canal opened in the summer of 1914, and 100 years later the 50-mile waterway is two-thirds of the way through a massive expansion project that would allow ever-larger ships to pass through. The project could quadruple the government’s $1 billion in annual revenue, which comes mostly from toll charges. But GUPC, the consortium of construction firms led by Spain’s Sacyr … 01/02/14 […]