after pressure, Petrobras will return to supplying natural gas to Ceará in October

Since March, Ceará has been without the regasification vessel at the Port of Pecém that supplied the thermal plants at the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal for power generation. Estado had already had negative feedback from Petrobras on the resumption of activity, however, the president of the state-owned company, Joaquim Silva e Luna, said on Tuesday, 14, that the vessel repositioning will be done in October.

“THE Thermofortaleza will return in October with ship repositioning,” he said, live, at a hearing in the Chamber of Deputies to clarify the high prices of fuels and the situation of the activation of thermal plants in view of the energy crisis that the country is going through.

Until then, the natural gas regasification vessel had been moved to Bahia. The head of the state-owned company said that the move was made to increase national gas production, and that the return will take place after the leasing of the Bahia terminal is concluded. The agreement for this should be made this Wednesday, 15, he said.

The questioning of the supply of liquefied natural gas to Ceará was carried out by deputy Danilo Forte (PSDB-CE). The president of Petrobras also added that the state-owned company compensated the drop in gas delivery to the Northeast with diesel.

According THE PEOPLE published in August of this year, the Government of Ceará had already received negative feedback on the regasification vessel Golar Winter, from Petrobras, at pier 2 of the LNG Terminal at Porto do Pecém.

Without the ship, Ceará was short of natural gas by Petrobras, which especially serves the state’s thermoelectric plants and also the demands of neighboring Rio Grande do Norte and Piauí. Who confirmed the situation at the time was the head of the Secretariat of Economic Development and Labor of Ceará (Sedet), Maia Júnior.

Also in August, the secretary had a meeting with representatives of the state-owned company and asked about the ship’s return to Pecém, since since March it has sailed without the state-owned company giving any further explanation of why nor when would the return be.

The answer, however, had been no. According to Maia, the explanation he received is that Petrobras would be following orders from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, which decided to suspend the supply in Ceará to increase the production of electricity in thermal plants in Bahia so that they could produce energy to be sent to the Southeast.

Maia complained, and points out that this forces companies to seek other supply alternatives, aggravating the risk of energy shortages, since thermal plants are the State’s emergency reserve.

“It was a choice (by the Ministry of Mines and Energy) that was not even communicated to the State. What am I going to say to this investor who invested billions of dollars in these thermoelectric plants in Ceará?”

Maia added that, for the Northeast, the position is still comfortable and there is no risk of shortages: “(There is no risk) Thanks to advances in the production of renewable energy in Ceará and in the northeastern states – amidst this prioritization of allocating energy to the Southeast – and if it weren’t for renewable energies, once again our Northeast would be looking at ships.”

“This is an insecurity! What am I going to say here to Mitsui, which bought a part of the company from the State (Cegás) and in other states as well. “Will you turn around”? Because my requirement as a State is that you should need to guarantee gas supply in industry, homes. What do I say to investors who bought gas-powered cars in this country if there is no gas guarantee? What do I say to investors who operate thermoelectric plants in Ceará? Petrobras withdraws its ship of gas supply from the Port of Pecém without saying anything to the State,” he said.

But, apparently, after pressure and a debate session in the Chamber of Deputies, Petrobras will resume the supply of gas in Ceará, which is less polluting compared to the activation of coal-fired thermal plants.

Before, Petrobras had informed the THE PEOPLE, in a note, that the “availability of two regasifier ships in the Petrobras fleet results from the ongoing leasing process of the Bahia Regasification Terminal (TRBA), object of the commitment assumed by Petrobras under the TCC entered into with CADE (Administrative Council) of Economic Defense)”.

The company also said that, “as provided for in the process, if there is a winner, the allocation of a new regasification vessel by the lessee is expected, and Petrobras will be able to move the vessel now positioned in the TRBA back to the Pecém Terminal (TRPECÉM ), at which time the three regasification terminals will be operational”.

“Until there is the assumption of ownership of the TRBA by the lessee and considering the current level of thermoelectric dispatch, the maintenance of the regasification ships in the Guanabara Bay terminal (TRBGUA) and in the TRBA ensures an operation for the system with greater total availability of gas to the Brazilian system, which, together with the operation of the UTE Termoceará on diesel (because it is a biofuel plant), already offered by Petrobras, provides the maximum total offer of energy generation.”

“Petrobras made the states structure companies (in Ceará, Cegás), the state-owned company grants the operation and distribution of natural gas to companies and yesterday (Thursday, August 5), a week after selling its assets in these state companies tripartite to Cosan – of course there are still some carnivals to be discussed, as there are shareholder and state agreements and private entities have priority in the acquisition of shares – Petrobras announces to the country that it will no longer guarantee natural gas to the distribution companies it created” , complained Maia Júnior.

Request to return the ship to Ceará

The Electric Sector Monitoring Committee (CMSE) had also asked the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) for efforts so that Petrobras put the Pecém LNG Terminal in operation again, in Ceará, by the end of September.

Inaugurated in 2008, the terminal with the capacity to transfer up to 7 million m³/day of natural gas to the Guamaré-Pecém Gas Pipeline (Gasfor) has been idle since March of this year.

In the accounts of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), the reactivation of the equipment will enable the operation of important plants in the Northeast and would add 570 MW of thermoelectric availability to the National Interconnected System (SIN).

This production would come from the activation of Termofortaleza and Termoceará, in Ceará, and the Vale do Açu plant, in Rio Grande do Norte.

Data from the National System Operator (ONS) show that natural gas-fired thermoelectric plants in Ceará – which have a lower cost than diesel – added 423 MWmed to the system in January and 211 MWmed in February.

The amount represented only 8.05% of the more than 7.8 thousand MWmed produced by gas-fired power plants in Brazil this year until the month of June.

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