Hydrocarbons Stationary Transport System

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Hydrocarbons Stationary Transport System, also known by its Spanish name Sistema Estacionario de Transporte de Hidrocarburos or its acronym SETH, is an operating oil pipeline in Guatemala.


The pipeline runs from oil fields at Campo Xan (Petén department) and Rubelsanto (Alta Verapaz department)[1][2] to the Puerto Barrios export terminal in Puerto Santo Tomás de Castilla (Izabal department), Guatemala.[3] En route, the pipeline passes through the La Libertad oil refinery[4] (known in Guatemalan government contracts as El Nance).[2]

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Project Details

  • Owner: Perenco[3]
  • Current capacity: 30,000 bpd[2][3]
  • Length: 474 km / 294.5 miles[5]
  • Status: Operating[3]
  • Start Year: 1980[6]


The Hydrocarbons Stationary Transport System began transporting oil from the Rubelsanto fields in 1980[6] and from the Campo Xan fields in 1992 under a 25-year contract (contract number 2-85) between the Guatemalan government and Basic Resources.[1] Rights to operate the pipeline were transferred to the French company Perenco in 2001.[1] Upon expiration of the original contract in February 2017, the Guatemalan government announced that it would hold a new tender for rights to operate the pipeline.[7]

Companies interested in operating and managing the pipeline system were invited to present their offers in June 2018.[8] Perenco was the only bidder, and some elements in its proposal were identified as inadequate, necessitating a new tender.[9] In the interim, Guatemala's government signed an emergency 18-month contract allowing Perenco to continue operating the pipeline, five pumping stations and the Piedras Negras export terminal in Puerto Santo Tomás de Castilla.[2] In March 2019, Guatemala again extended the deadline for companies to submit new offers to operate the pipeline.[10]

In June 2019, after two years operating the pipeline under emergency contracts,[3] Perenco signed a new long-term contract with Guatemala's government under which the company will operate the system for another 25 years.[4] The new contract received final government approval in July 2019.[3][11]


Guatemalan environmental groups have long resisted oil development in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, where the SETH pipeline originates.[12] The Guatemalan government's permissive approach to oil extraction in the region, including extension of contracts and allowing Perenco to operate without a valid environmental impact assessment, has proved controversial.[13]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Perenco: Explotar Petróleo Cueste Lo Que Cueste" (PDF). Collectif Guatemala. November 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Acuerdo Gubernativo 97-2018" (PDF). Ministerio de Energía y Minas, Gobierno de Guatemala. May 28, 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Adjudican a Perenco contrato para operar oleoducto por otros 25 años". Prensa Libre. July 25, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Perenco operará el oleoducto". El Periódico de Guatemala. June 26, 2019.
  5. "Latin American crude oil - Perenco". Perenco. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Exploración y Explotación Petrolera en Guatemala" (PDF). Ministerio de Energía y Minas - Dirección General de Hidrocarburos. December 2007.
  7. "Darán en licitación oleoducto". Diario de Centroamérica. February 10, 2017.
  8. "Tender for Oil Pipeline Operation" Central America Data, accessed August 2018
  9. "Oil Pipeline Operation to be Re-Tendered" Central America Data, accessed August 2018
  10. Guatemala extends deadline to submit offers to operate hydrocarbons transport system BN Americas, accessed May 2019
  11. ACUERDO GUBERNATIVO NÚ 131-2019, Government of Guatemala, Jul. 23, 2019
  12. "El Petróleo en Guatemala y sus Repercusiones Sociales, Económicas, Políticas y Ambientales: Piden frenar a petroleras" (PDF). Prensa Libre. March 10, 1999.
  13. "Successes and many challenges in Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve". Mongabay Environmental News. June 2, 2016.

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External resources

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