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Nearly half of Brazil's LNG
regasification capacity idle


Petrobras' Bahia LNG regasification terminal in Brazil

By Flávia Pierry / Argus

Petroleumworld 08 16 2021

Almost half of Brazilian regasification capacity is idle for the second half of the year, which could lure new LNG cargoes into the country.

A drought that has resulted in a lack of crucial hydropower capacity is pushing Brazilian authorities to bring more gas-fired power generation capacity on line. Depending on how much regasification capacity is available, the additions could boost Brazil's base gas-fired power capacity of 14GW by about 6GW. About 40mn m³/d of the country's total 90mn m³/d of regasification capacity is idle through the end of the year.

LNG shipments will be possible as soon as state-controlled Petrobras can complete the government request to take its regasification ship to Pecem terminal in the northeast state of Ceara. The move will add a maximum regasification capacity of 7mn m³/d and could result in the dispatch of 750MW from two power plants in the region that do not have natural gas supply.

The amount of idle regasification capacity also depends on how Petrobras manages its gas production during maintenance at the offshore Mexilhao platform.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy is pursuing power auctions for both small generators that can be installed in the short term and idle capacity at existing power plants. But in order for the facilities to be supplied, most of the added gas-fired generation must be located close to regasification terminals near the coast, or connected to existing pipelines, which are also concentrated on the coast.

The government is also looking to shift dual-fuel power plants to run on fuel, leaving more natural gas available to small generators.

Brazil has five LNG terminals operating. Three of them are owned by Petrobras: Pecem in Ceará state; Baia de Guanabara in Rio de Janeiro; and Baía de Todos os Santos, in Bahia. The other two are privately owned: CELSE's Porto de Sergipe terminal in Sergipe state; and Porto de Açu terminal in Rio de Janeiro, which is owned by GNA.

The short-term actions will help Brazil skirt a 2GW shortage risk in November, which the government expects to avoid with power imports from Argentina and Uruguay. But the actions will be essential for Brazilian electrical security in 2022.

Water reservoirs for hydropower generation will reach minimal historical levels by the end of this year, stoking concerns for Brazilian authorities and power consumers. Brazil is expected to be highly dependent on thermal generation next year, preferably supplied by natural gas.

Three new regasification facilities are expected to start operation by 2022 or 2023: Gas Sul terminal, in the southern state of Santa Catarina; Suape Terminal, in the northeastern state of Pernambuco; and Barcarena terminal, in the northern state of Para. With these additions, Brazilian regasification capacity should reach a total of 144mn m³/d by 2023, or two times the total Brazilian natural gas demand, supplied today by both domestic gas production and by LNG import.


By Flávia Pierry from Argus Media.
08 13 2021



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