On November 4, 2021, Petrobras reached the record-breaking mark of 104 transshipment operations of liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes between vessels (STS or ship-to-ship) through its LNG regasification terminals. The Brazilian oil major surpassed the 103 intakes registered in 2014, previously the year of greatest demand. By the end of 2021, the expectation is to reach 120 transshipments.
The increase in the number of operations reflects the growth of LNG imports by Petrobras this year. Since 2009, the date of the inauguration of the first LNG terminal in Brazil, a total of 716 operations have been carried out. It is also the result of a set of initiatives adopted by Petrobras to expand the supply of natural gas during an acute energy crisis in Brazil. Demand for natural gas skyrocketed after scarce rains caused reduced hydro production and increased the dispatch of gas plants.
Additionally, the result is even more substantial due to one of the three LNG import terminals owned by Petrobras being idle since March. The FSRU Golar Winter was disconnected from Pecém and moved to the Bahia terminal to increase supply for gas plants in the area.
Excelerate Energy is set to operate the Bahia terminal until December 2023, having won a lease tender back in August. The Texas-based company already operates the Experience FSRU at the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, while AIS tracking data suggests the Exemplar is moving to Pecém to restart import operations there. Petrobras’ plans for the closed terminal are still unclear.
The national energy crisis adds to the worldwide gas shortages, which are causing widespread price hikes, especially in Europe. In Brazil, gas prices are set to increase substantially. According to Abegás (Brazilian Association of Pipeline Gas Distributors), Petrobras is quoting up to US$ 35 per million BTUs for short-term 2022 gas contracts sourced from imported LNG. The proposed price is up from the US$ 5 – US$ 6 historical average.
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