Colombia's Hidroituango project beset by bankruptcy
By Diana Delgado / Argus
Petroleumworld 10 14 2021
A major hydroelectric project in Colombia suffered another setback as a key player in building the 2.4GW HidroItuango project filed for bankruptcy protection.
In the latest twist, Colombian engineering firm Coninsa Ramon H filed for bankruptcy protection. The firm is one of three companies that form the consortium CCC, which is building the main works of the HidroItuango project on the Cauca river, including the dam and the power station.
The company has sought protection under an emergency decree that allows an expedited reorganization process to ensure protection for creditors and preserve the firms that are still viable.
The Colombian corporate regulator SuperSociedades has admitted the company to the reorganization process. Under the emergency decree, the company will have three months to come up with a rescue plan that will allow it to continue operating and comply with obligations to creditors and suppliers.
A month ago, HidroItuango's developer EPM said it invited other companies to consider taking over the project.
EPM, which is controled by the city of Medellin, invited 16 domestic and 26 international construction companies to continue building the project if the existing contractors are unable or are unwilling to go on. The decision follows the country's comptroller ruling that 26 individuals and entities are financially responsible for Ps4.3 trillion in losses ($1.13bn) related to April 2018 landslides that led to evacuations downstream from the project.
Partial responsibility for the losses falls on CCC, according to the comptroller.
The project was already behind schedule because of a series of structural flaws that delayed construction in early 2018. The $3.2bn project is 84pc complete, says EPM. The first 300MW unit will start operations in June 2022, four years behind schedule as delays increase the project's cost.
HidroItuango is comprised of eight 300MW units and a 2,720bn m³ reservoir. Once in full operation, the complex will generate an estimated 17pc of the country's total electricity