Shell and partners invest US $ 700 million in the first thermal plant to use pre-salt natural gas

June 2, 2020

Despite the economic crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Anglo-Dutch Shell and its partners decided to keep US $ 700 million in investments to set up a thermoelectric plant powered by natural gas from the pre-salt layer in Macaé, in the North of the State of Rio de Janeiro.

The plant will have a capacity of 565 MW, enough to meet the energy consumption of two million people, and will start delivering energy as of January 1, 2023. The works begin this month.

Marlim Azul will be the first plant to use the natural gas produced in the pre-salt fields. The fuel will be supplied by Shell, which, with the venture, makes its debut in the generation of electricity in the country.

The company responsible for the project is Arke Energia, formed by Pátria Investimentos (controlling shareholder, with 51%), Shell (with 29%) and Mitsubishi (with 20%).

The investment includes the construction of the thermoelectric plant, a 22-kilometer gas pipeline to connect the gas terminal (Terminal de Cabiúnas) to the plant and a transmission line.

Equipment import

The commercial director of Shell Brasil, Guilherme Perdigão, said he believed that the economy would recover and, therefore, decided to keep the pace of the works. The company has contracts with 26 distributors to deliver energy as of January 1, 2023.

Perdigão stated, however, that carrying out the works in times of pandemic brought a series of challenges, such as importing equipment from China and India and developing the engineering project remotely with professionals in Brazil, Japan and Spain, among others. others.

– We understand that this energy consumption (for 2023) will happen. By then, the country will have time to recover. We are seeking to be disciplined in maintaining the schedule in order to honor the delivery of energy as of January 2023. It is clear that the pandemic brought a series of challenges, but we are managing to keep the schedule so far – said Perdigão.

In Arke Energia’s assessment, “short-term consumption drops do not alter long-term planning”. Arke also stressed the importance of respecting the construction schedule, at the risk of not meeting the deadline for the delivery of energy. For the company, it is better to invest in times of crisis, when cash is available.

The Shell director explained that security protocols will be adopted to prevent contagion from Covid-19. The recruitment of personnel will start in the second half of this month, but the initial number of workers will still be small, and should reach around 150 by the end of the year. The expectation is to reach 1,500 workers at the peak of the works, between 2021 and 2022.

The partnership between the multinationals provides for the development of the plant and the sale of energy, both in the captive market, through an auction that was held by the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), in December 2017, as well as in the free market through Shell Energy Brasil.

Source: O Globo

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