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Spotlight: Brazil’s LNG terminals and projects

Posted on December 4, 2023

Brazil’s Petrobras appears close to resuming the operations of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal in Bahia state, which was leased in 2021 to Excelerate Energy.

Earlier this month ports and waterway transportation regulator Antaq authorized the national oil company to begin the operations at the terminal (TRBA) on December 31.

Petrobras is now waiting for authorization from oil and gas watchdog ANP.

Through its press office, ANP told BNamericas it is still analyzing the matter and that Petrobras has requested that the authorization of transfer of ownership be granted by January 2024, as the lease term included in the cessation agreement (TCC) between the NOC and antitrust agency Cade expires on December 31.

Signed in 2019, the TCC was designed to reduce Petrobras’ footprint in the natural gas market to boost competition and private investments.

But with the change of government in January and a greater role of the State in the economy, Petrobras is renegotiating the terms of its gas and refining deals with Cade, potentially leading to a return to a strategy of vertical integration.

There are currently five LNG regasification terminals in operation:

– Pecém, in Ceará state, operated by Petrobras, and able to regasify 7Mm3/d (million cubic meters).

– Baía de Guanabara (Rio de Janeiro/ Petrobras/ 20Mm3/d).

– TRBA (Bahia/ Excelerate Energy/ 20Mm3/d).

– Barra dos Coqueiros (Sergipe/ Celse/ 21Mm3/d).

– GNA Açu (Rio de Janeiro/ UTE GNA I (Gás Natural Açu)/ 21Mm3/d).

Three terminals are being built and set to start operations in 2024:

– TRSP (São Paulo/ Compass Gás e Energia/ 14Mm3/d).

– Babitonga (Santa Catarina/ New Fortress Energy/ 15Mm3/d).

– Barcarena (Pará/ New Fortress Energy/ 15Mm3/d).

In 2021, federal energy research firm EPE launched a study showing potential for four additional LNG terminals, totaling 56Mm3/d of regasification capacity (14M3/d each) and demanding 1.09bn reais (US$200mn) in investments.

Local analysts say LNG will keep playing an important role in Brazil over the long term due mainly to the nature of the country’s natural gas reserves and the growth of its installed electric power capacity.

Given the lack of pipelines connecting offshore hydrocarbon fields to the coast, most of the domestic gas is associated with oil and is reinjected to boost production.

Meanwhile, as Brazil is no longer building hydroelectric plants with large water reservoirs, power supply is becoming increasingly dependent on solar and wind, which are intermittent sources – thus requiring gas-fired plants for baseload supply.

LNG regasification terminal projects under study include Blueshift’s in Rio de Janeiro, while the Itaqui and Suape ports in the states of Maranhão and Pernambuco will lease areas for LNG terminals.

The latter closed a deal in December last year with Aruanã Energia, of the Oncorp Group, which plans to invest 2bn reais in the project. Shell will be the LNG provider.

In Ceará, Portocem Geração de Energia will build an LNG regasification terminal to supply a 1,572MW thermoelectric plant.

A number of small-scale LNG projects are also underway by companies such as Alpha LNG (Origem Energia), Moovgas Natural (Global Moov), White MartinsEneva, GNLink (Lorinvest) and Macaw Energies (Golar).


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