Sept 3, 2020
The Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, said on Wednesday (2) that Brazil will be able to dispose of the total production planned for pre-salt gas for the next six years, with the forecast for the start-up of the Route 3 at the beginning of 2021. The Petrobras project is the only capacity expansion contracted at the moment.
Route 3 is being built by Petrobras to link the production of gas from the Santos Basin pre-salt with the processing unit (UPGN) of the former Comperj, in Itaboraí (RJ) – the project is called Polo Gaslub and beyond the natural gas installations, Petrobras intends to invest in the production of lubricants, integrated with Reduc, in Duque de Caxias (RJ).
“Now more important than that is to have a demand for this natural gas. Conditions are being created with the new legal framework, ”he said in reference to the approval of the Gas Law bill by the Chamber of Deputies this Tuesday (1st).
The discussion of the Gas Law opposed government, consumers and producers, on the one hand, and natural gas distributors on the other. The approved bill is pleasing to the government and the alternative proposals revolved around, precisely, the expansion of natural gas infrastructure to encourage the consumption of national production, through anchor energy generation projects – the inflexible locational thermals.
Contracted capacity of 44 million m³ / day
Currently, the Rota 1 (SP) and Rota 2 (RJ) gas pipelines are responsible for bringing the gas produced in fields operated by Petrobras in the pre-salt to the market on land. With the expansion of Route 3 (RJ), necessary to transport production from the Búzios field, the largest under development in the country, the total capacity of the three gas pipelines will be 44 million m³ / day.
The Energy Research Company (EPE) has mapped out expansion alternatives that can add between 30 million and 45 million m³ / day in projects in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo.
Demand projection for pre-salt gas flow capacity (EPE, 2019)
Bento Albuquerque stressed that the inclusion of gas thermal plants is already in the MME’s planning and that competition from new gas projects may be responsible for the reduction in the price of energy.
The minister argued that, in addition to gas pipelines, other means of transport can be used to move gas to states in the interior of the country, such as the use of LNG on railways and highways.
“[A gas pipeline] is not a simple project, it needs an environmental license, for example,” he commented.
The expectation of MME, according to Albuquerque, is to disclose in this second semester the calendar of energy auctions that were suspended due to the pandemic. One of the contracts planned for these auctions, which would take place this year, was the replacement of diesel thermal plants with plants that use gas as fuel.
And he reinforced the expectation of a reduction in the prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), with the increase in the supply of pre-salt gas. Currently, cooking gas, which serves more than 90% of Brazilian homes, is produced at Petrobras refineries, associated with the processing of gasoline and diesel, or is imported.
With the increase in the national gas supply, which has larger portions of LPG components – propane and butane – the expectation of the government and market agents is that the development of the gas sector will lead to an increase in supply and competition in the supply of LPG .