Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras informs that it will start on August 15th the scheduled stoppage for 30 days of the Mexilhão platform and Route 1 pipeline, which outflows natural gas produced in Mexilhão and in other pre-salt and post-salt platforms in the Santos Basin.
The intervention on Mexilhão platform and Route 1 gas pipeline was planned several months in advance, considering its complexity and the need for contracting goods and services and coordinating the availability of resources required for its execution. The scheduled stoppage was communicated to the National Petroleum Agency in October 2020, in the Annual Production Programs (PAP) and specific meetings with the MME/CMGN – Natural Gas Monitoring Committee of the Ministry of Mines and Energy and ONS in March 2021.
The stoppage will enable preventive maintenance and improvements at the facilities, ensuring continuity and safety in natural gas flow and supply operations.
The highlights of the stoppage are:
• Inspection of NR-13 equipment (Regulatory Standard on safety inspection and operation of pressure vessels, boilers and piping) and SPIE (In-house Equipment Inspection Service), which must comply with the maximum deadlines designated by the standard.
• Compliance with Critical Inspection Recommendations with maturities from August 2021. These interventions are in equipment necessary for the gas production and delivery process and require the interruption of the systems to which they are associated, requiring the shutdown of platform operations to safe execution of planned services.
• An important part of the activities refers to internal components of the equipment in operation and without access for inspection or testing, thus the postponement of the intervention can lead to operational risks or unscheduled stoppages, further impairing the gas flow to UTGCA – Caraguatatuba Gas Treatment Unit.
Therefore, the scheduled stoppage cannot be postponed, as it aims at operational safety and compliance with regulatory deadlines.
The company notified customers of the stoppage, under the contractually established terms, and continues to take actions to mitigate impacts on gas supply during the stoppage. The solutions involve:
• Expansion of the capacity of the Guanabara Bay Regasification Terminal from 20 million to 30 million m³/day;
• Repositioning of regasification vessel from the Pecém LNG Regasification Terminal to the Bahia Terminal (TRBA), with the capacity to offer an additional 14 million m³/day;
• Positioning in the LNG supply ships and cargo market;
• Negotiation of a new interruptible contract for a temporary increase in imports from Bolivia.
As an additional measure, Petrobras will reconcile the maintenance of Mexilhão platform and Route 1 gas pipeline with the scheduled stoppages of its own and third-party thermoelectric plants, thus reducing the demand for natural gas from these thermoelectric plants during the stoppage period and increasing their generation availability in the remaining dry period. The thermoelectric stoppage schedule was articulated in advance with the National Electric System Operator (ONS), seeking the least possible impact on the sector. The reduction in the supply of electricity generated by thermal plants will be of approximately 3 thousand megawatts during the stoppage period, compared with a total natural gas thermal generation capacity in the country of about 15 thousand megawatts and a total installed generation capacity, considering all sources, of about 170 thousand megawatts (system capacity data from the ONS website).