There has been a lot of talk about refineries, natural gas plants, oil pipelines in the news lately.
Panama’s central location in the Americas, plus the Canal, does make it an ideal location as an energy hub for Central America and the Caribbean, and even linking South American and North American markets. Plans are still (slowly) under way for a major refinery on the Caribbean side, in partnership with Qatar. In 2008, the defunct TransPanamanian oil pipeline got a new lease on life when British Petroleum signed an agreement to modernize the pipeline for reverse shipments from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and last October there was an announcement that the terminal storage facilities would be expanded, which indicates there is likely to be a jump in usage (think: Venezuela). Finally, the Ministry of Finance announced earlier this month that the government would be spending $430 on a new natural gas terminal and gas-fired generating plant. It all seems to point to a very specific plan to take advantage of Panama’s location and existing infrastructure.