COLOMBIA - Energy & Mining
General Manager, ISAGEN
Camilo Marulanda López has extensive experience in the energy sector, having served as Executive Vice President for ECOPETROL, as well as serving on the board of Frontera Energy.
What internal processes have you changed in the company?
We have been reviewing our processes and practices as well as negotiating agreements and looking for new efficiencies. In 2018, we saved around COP60 billion (USD18.9 million), which represents 20% of the company’s cost base. This made us more efficient, and we plan to have additional savings for 2019. We decided to make these changes gradually, so we do not have a negative impact on our employees and the communities we work in. We also have a restructuring process in our company’s financial liabilities. All these together enabled us to have great results and a strong base for the coming years. One of our main goals is to diversify our electricity production, for which we are working with interesting wind projects that are already in the licensing or investment process. The idea is to have a strong company.
In 2016, Canadian company Brookfield acquired most of ISAGEN’s shares. What are the effects of this action?
All the changes the company went through are not due to the change of ownership, but because the company realized the importance of doing so. We are one of Brookfield’s biggest assets in the world, and these new results have been a pleasant surprise for it. Brookfield is also committed to the country and to making new investments, for example, by providing Bogotá with natural gas. There are great opportunities in the country for investments in the infrastructure sector. ISAGEN is an important company due to the quality of its plants and operations as well as its security and projects development. Moreover, this is a growing market that will grow even more in the future. This made us an interesting acquisition for Brookfield.
ISAGEN is currently investing in wind projects in La Guajira. Can you tell us more about these projects and the future of wind energy in Colombia?
La Guajira is one of the most important places around the world when it comes to wind potential. Our access to natural resource there grants us many opportunities. We have some projects for the area, some of which are more developed than others, and there is a bright future in this area. The government has created interesting tax and regulatory incentives that boost the sector. We currently have three different types of projects. The first one helps us test our business model. Then, we have Guajira 2, which is currently in the closing process of the previous consults and the environmental permit. Our short-term goal is to operate a small project that will test our investment thesis that we can then use for larger projects. The company believes wind energy will grow in Colombia, and it is a business that we want to be in.
As one of the biggest energy providers in the country, what is ISAGEN’s role regarding the protection of the Colombian environment?
One of the most interesting programs of the company concerns water and watershed protection. If we do not protect the water sources where we operate, we will run out of our prime resource. We are working together with communities to protect these watersheds, reforest the areas, and prevent the release of polluted waters into rivers. By doing so, we guarantee that our operations are sustainable, and people in the communities defend and want us. There are fewer problems with environmental entities and communities.
What is in store for ISAGEN in 2019 and beyond?
We want to continue to work efficiently and generate more value. We have an interesting project portfolio that we are working with, and we see excellent opportunities for growth. In addition, we are always open to new opportunities. This is a business that is rapidly evolving, and we need to adjust our company every time for new opportunities. Our company is a long-term business, so the decisions we make do not show results in one year, but 30-50 years later.
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