After Bolivia Crisis Brazil Looks for Gas in Africa and Middle East

Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras, and White Martins, greatest company of industrial gas in South America, joined forces in a consortium in the field of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

They have started on Monday, August 21, GasLocal, a company that will market and transport the LNG produced in the White Martins plant, in Paulí­nia, city in the countryside of the state of São Paulo, southeast Brazil.

GasLocal will liquefy 380,000 cubic meters of natural gas per day and will transport the gas in the liquefied form, on trucks, to places in Brazil where there are no gas pipes.

Among the places that are not reached by pipelines there are the interior of the state of São Paulo, the north of Paraná (southern Brazil), south of Minas Gerais (Southeast), Goiás and the Federal District (in the Midwestern region of Brazil).

According to Petrobras, this kind of transportation for natural gas is amply used in countries like Japan, Spain, Portugal and the United States. The consortium already has many contracts for natural gas supply signed in these states in Brazil. The aim, according to Petrobras, is to give more regions in the country the possibility of using natural gas.

This is only one of the projects that Petrobras has for the gas sector. The company is preparing a tender to start the operations in two regasification plants. According to the director of the Gas department at Petrobras, Ildo Sauer, the regasification plants will be on ships. They should regasify up to 200 million cubic meters of LNG per day.

The vessels to be used, with options of future purchases, will be in Guanabara Bay, in Rio de Janeiro, and in Pecém Port, in Ceará. The liquefied gas, according to Petrobras, will be imported, possibly from African and Arab countries.

The plants should allow for the purchase of LNG from Algeria and Qatar, great Arab producers of natural gas. Since the distance between Brazil and the region is too great for the gas to be transported in the gaseous state, it has to be dislocated in the liquefied form, which is only possible if Brazil has regasification plants, to then transform it back into gas.

Petrobras started examining the regasification project after the crisis with Bolivia, which made the company suspend the investments foreseen to increase the imports of natural gas from the South American country. With this, as well as investing in Brazil’s own gas production, Petrobras should increase imports of the product from other nations.

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