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Enabling power generation in Latin America & the Caribbean

Gabriel Landaeta

We meet the marine manager who set-up Total Lubmarine’s Colombia office and is currently responsible for business in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Gabriel Landaeta oversees Total Lubmarine’s operations in countries ranging from Mexico all the way to Argentina and the Caribbean islands, but much of his work is less marine-oriented than you might think, involving onshore power generation.

Using diesel engines to generate power – electricity – is a widely practiced phenomenon, enabling users to switch power on and off as their needs dictate. While this method is expensive, it is highly reliable and very flexible.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Total Lubmarine supplies lubricants to a multitude of local distribution companies who then make deliveries by road. Often generator engines are located in relatively inaccessible places and sometimes far away from main power grids. Total works with local companies to anticipate their needs and ensure its warehouses are sufficiently stocked.

Gabriel says:

“Many national power producers in the Caribbean islands, including Grenada, Barbados, the Bahamas and the Grenadines rely on generator engines to supply power to their local populations. In Latin America, there are numerous independent companies who produce energy to power mining or manufacturing operations and then sell their surplus power to national grids. Gen-sets are also used to support renewable energy systems approximately 10-20% of the time, when natural resources are insufficient or equipment is undergoing maintenance.

Most gen-sets use four-stroke medium speed diesel engines to generate power, meaning that a lubricant from Total Lubmarine’s Disola range is the best option for lubrication. Depending on local regulation and the requirement to use distillate fuel, Disola-M could be better suited. A small proportion of engines used for power generation are two-stroke and for these, lubricants from the Talusia and Atlanta ranges are supplied.”

Gabriel manages a team of 10 colleagues who travel widely in support of customers to assist with all lubrication related tasks. Where customers are the direct owners or operators of a gen-set, a technical contact is assigned to create a LubChart matching lubricants to the customer’s exact equipment specifications and needs. To ensure ongoing engine health, many customers subscribe to Total’s Diagomar Plus oil analysis service, sending samples to a laboratory in Panama for testing and analysis.

When engines are overhauled, Total Lubmarine staff attend to inspect and advise on best lubrication practice for the next stage of an engine’s life.

Gabriel and his team have both brilliant opportunities and challenges to face. Their market is huge and they have to think creatively to ensure that the Total Lubmarine offer and message is spread as widely as possible. They are expecting more natural gas engines in the future and are preparing to support customer requests in this area.

With many Caribbean islands investing in renewables to supply their ongoing energy needs, this part of the market is set to stabilise rather than grow, however there will always be a supporting role for gen-sets to play and with excellent customer relationships and a strong distribution network, Gabriel is confident of continuing success.

 

Total Lubmarine’s Disola range

  • Monograde engine oils for medium-high speed diesel engines.

Applications

  • Particularly recommended for the lubrication of highly turbo-charged engines running under very severe conditions.

Properties

  • Extended oil drain intervals.
  • Excellent detergent and dispersant capabilities guaranteeing engine cleanliness in all running conditions.
  • Very good anti-corrosion and anti-oxidation capabilities providing engine durability.
  • Excellent anti-wear and extreme pressure performances allowing a use in reduction gears.

Approvals

  • Oils in the Disola range are approved by the major OEMs
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Power-plant in Bahia Las Minas, Panama