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Petrobras opens leasing process for Brazil's busiest LNG import terminal

August 04/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrobras on Aug. 3 announced the start of bidding for lease of its LNG regasification terminal and associated facilities in the northeast state of Bahia - a move that comes as the state-led producer continues to diversify away from midstream and downstream oil and gas operations in Brazil, reported S&P Global.

"The lease aligns with the company's strategy to improve its capital allocation and create a favorable environment for new investors to enter the natural gas sector," Petrobras said in a statement.

The leasing process also comes in accordance with a June 2019 agreement signed between Petrobras and Brazil's antitrust market regulator, Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Economica, or Cade.

The move is the latest in a series of asset divestitures made by the company.

Most recently, Petrobras and Brazil's government have been considering reforms to the state-led company's complex and costly concession agreements offered in bid rounds and production-sharing auctions in an effort to attract more international competition for the country's offshore assets.

As part of Brazil's New Gas Market reform, launched in June 2019, Petrobras in late May announced the opening of its natural gas processing facilities to rival producers and interested third parties. Last year, the company sold a large chunk of its downstream gas distribution business and agreed to lease transmission capacity on the Bolivia-Brazil Gasbol pipeline the country's largest gas import system.

The lease of Petrobras' Bahia Regas terminal marks a significant step in fomenting competition in Brazil's gas market. The terminal's location in the state of Bahia gives potential importers access to northeast Brazil's largest municipal gas market with proximity to heavily populated neighboring states, all of which are severely under-serviced by gas pipelines.

The Bahia import terminal, recently Brazil's most active, uses Floating Storage and Regasification Unit, or FSRU, technology to make ship-to-ship LNG transfers that can be later regasified for sendout.

The terminal's capacity allows for regasification of up to 700 MMcf/d and includes a 28-mile, 28-inch diameter pipeline with connections to two onshore delivery points in the city of Salvador.

The lease agreement exclude Petrobras' FSRU, but does include power generation and electric-supply equipment at an onshore gas-fired power plant, located at the Madre de Deus Waterway Terminal.

One year on, Brazil's New Gas Market reform continues to mark key milestones.

In July, Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, relaunched its open season for capacity on Gasbol its third attempt to carry out the process after previous setbacks caused by Petrobras' involvement in the bidding and later by concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

ANP was scheduled to publish a list of approved shippers by July 27 but has yet to provide any official updates on the process. According to local media reports, though, at least two companies have been named as approved shippers, including Compass of Cosan Group and Gas Bridge. The open season is scheduled to conclude by mid-August with the startup of new gas import contracts by September.

As MRC reported previously, Petrobras may need more than a year to divest its stake in Braskem, said Andrea Almeida, Petrobras CFO, in early July. She said during the companys recent webinar that Petrobras plans to give more time for potential investors to make offers for the company's assets, including for its refineries and stakes at its petrochemical and fuel distribution affiliates. The divestment of Petrobras's stake in Braskem in 2020 would be desirable but "might not be possible" as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed market conditions, she said. The company plans to close part of its refinery sales in 2021. In December, Roberto Castello Branco, CEO of Petrobras, said that he wants to sell the companys stake in Braskem within a year. Petrobras owns 32.15% of Braskem.

We remind that Braskem is no longer pursuing a petrochemical project, which would have included an ethane cracker, in West Virginia. And the company is seeking to sell the land that would have housed the cracker. The project, announced in 2013, had been on Braskem's back burner for several years.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras is an integrated energy firm. Petrobras' activities include exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks as well as refining, processing, trade and transport of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons, in addition to other energy-related activities.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, homopolymer PP, propylene, HDPE, ethylene, petrochemistry, Petrobas, Brazil, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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