Margaret Øvrum recalls that investment depends on viability: ‘With a monopoly, you do not get the right price’
Norwegian Equinor (formerly Statoil), the second largest oil and natural gas producer in the country, behind only Petrobras, is waiting for a new regulation of the gas market to expand its investments in Brazil. The president of the company, Margareth Øvrum, says that Equinor wants to participate in the upcoming oil auctions in the country, but that in the case of the pre-salt, the definition of the new gas regulatory framework is crucial.
Today, Petrobras, despite being in the process of selling its gas pipelines to the private sector, has contracts that guarantee it the right to use 100% of the network’s transportation capacity, even if it is idle. For specialists, this makes the use of these pipelines unfeasible by private companies.
“You need the price for gas. When you have a monopoly, you can not get the right price. So we need to open up the gas market. In the pre-salt there is a lot of gas. There are opportunities, “says Margaret.
She pointed out that Brazil, alongside Norway and the United States, is one of the three priority markets for Equinor in the world.
‘We want to access the network’
Economy Minister Paulo Guedes has already said that the government is working on a new project to stimulate investment in the gas segment with the end of the monopoly that Petrobras enjoys today in practice in the sector. Margareth sees this initiative well.
– In Carcará, for example, in the first phase we will reinject the gas in the field because there is no way to monetize it. In the second phase (Carcará development), we want to access this infrastructure to sell the gas on land. But we need to know what market we will access. We’re working on how to monetize that gas, “explains Margaret.
In addition to Carcará, in the Santos Basin pre-salt – with recoverable reserves of 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE), in which it has a slice, next to Petrogal and Barra Energia -, Equinor is in Pão de Açúcar, also in the pre-salt of the Santos Basin, with reserves of 1 billion barrels. In all, the company has 18 licenses under exploration in the country. In partnership with Petrobras, Equinor has two fields in production: Peregrino and Roncador, both in the Campos Basin.
– We believe there is great potential in the future as the demand for energy is growing as GDP advances. Gas, from a climate perspective, is very positive compared to coal. There is a promising market for gas. But there is the regulatory issue, which is access to infrastructure – she points out.
The government’s objective, when opening the gas market, is to reduce the price of the input to increase the demand and improve the competitiveness of the national industry.
Watching the auctions
The executive said that Equinor intends to enter the auctions this year. The 6th Round of the Pre-Salt is scheduled, under the sharing regime, and the 16th Round of Bids, in the concession model. There is also the expectation that the auction of the Transfer of Rights surplus will occur.
– The 6th and 16th rounds are important to us. We are looking at opportunities to see where to invest.
Equinor intends to invest US $ 15 billion in Brazil by 2030, both in oil and in renewable sources. Margareth cites the agreement with Petrobras to develop offshore wind projects coupled with oil platforms and the investment in solar energy with the recent inauguration of a park in Ceará:
“There is not much opportunity for hydroelectric power. So gas and renewable sources will be very important for the country. So we are looking at renewable energy and gas. We are pursuing other opportunities in solar energy in Brazil.