Sycar Gets Environmental Approval for Ecuador LNG

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Sycar has been granted environmental approval by the Ecuadorian government for its LNG import project, taking the proposed ISO container facility one step closer to fruition. The Houston-based project development company will start operations in July 2021 by bringing LNG to Ecuador in ISO tanks to service industrial clients, Sycar Managing Partner Nelson Jaramillo told Energy Intelligence. The project, first unveiled in 2020, is designed to wean former Opec member Ecuador off of imported diesel and fuel oil. Ecuador is also dependent on unreliable hydropower. The company is developing the proposed import facility with an initial regasification capacity of 50 MMcf/d in Ecuador's southernmost province of El Oro, at the city of Bajo Alto. The site is near several gas-related facilities and about an hour's drive from the city of Machala (population 240,000) (LNGI Jun.12'20). On Apr. 19, the company said that it had been awarded final approval for its Environmental Impact Study. Ecuador hasn't seen any LNG-related activity in years, but the country's newly elected President-elect Guillermo Lasso could potentially change that (OD Apr.14'21). The approval, awarded by Ecuador's environment and water ministry, marks the completion of the permits phase of the project. The company had previously expected to obtain the required environmental licenses by the fourth quarter of 2020. Sycar admitted last year that the environmental permitting process has been slow "because of the present situation in Ecuador,” where the government’s recent decision to merge the environment ministry with the secretariat of waters created administrative challenges (LNGI Jul.28'20). "The final action on our hands is to present the government with proof of payment of the environmental license tax and the certificate of environmental coverage toward the issuance of the environmental license," the company said. The executive went on to say that construction of the terminal itself "will start as soon as demand ramps up" and that Sycar will "continue to develop demand to justify the construction of the terminal." The company was previously awarded a concession from Ecuador's undersecretary of ports as well as floating storage and regasification unit operation approval from the secretary for the regulation and control of hydrocarbons in Ecuador. Alexandra Chapman, London

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