Petrobras plans to buy Nigerian spot LNG cargoes

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

At a press conference at the LNG 15 Conference in Barcelona, Spain, Petrobras Gas and Energy Director Ildo Sauer said the $860-million Golar LNG FSRU contract would help meet the country's strategic energy objectives.

He said that the state company had already signed a master supply agreement with Nigeria LNG and was talking to other potential suppliers.

Sauer said Brazil's current electricity supply comes 90 percent from hydro-electric power plants and the LNG imports from Nigeria would be to make up any shortfalls during the dry season in Brazil from May to October when hydro-electric power supply is short as water levels in rivers drop.

"Our debut in the LNG market is a hedge against the dry season," said Sauer. "We will also be purchasing spot cargoes during the Atlantic Basin spring and summer period when natural gas prices are normally at their lowest."

Previously Golar LNG said it was awarded two time charters by Petrobras to employ the "Golar Winter" and "Golar Spirit" carriers as LNG FSRUs.

The chartering of "Golar Spirit" as an FSRU would commence during the second quarter of 2008 and "Golar Winter" would go into service for Petrobras during the second quarter of 2009.

Both vessels will be modified to permit regasification of LNG prior to delivery to Petrobras, a statement said.

The contract duration for both vessels will be 10 years with an option for Petrobras to extend for a further five years and to have a third vessel.

Petrobras said the use of FSRUs was preferable to building an onshore LNG plant as it gave the company the flexibility to inject gas into its coastal pipeline network in any area where there was a shortage of gas to generate electricity, while a fixed terminal would only be able to supply one particular region.

Petrobras said that one of the FSRUs would be capable of regasifying up to 14 million cubic metres of gas per day, while the other would manage up to 7 mcb/d.

The first was expected to be online within one year. The two vessels will be chartered for about $90M a year, including operating expenses, Petrobras said.

"The vessels will be moored to an island-type pier in the Guanabara Bay, and to an existing pier in Pecem," the statement added. "Both will be installed in sheltered waters, near the transportation network and consumer markets."

Petrobras said that it did not feel it was gambling on an experimental technology and pointed to the success of the Execelerate Energy Deepwater Port system in the US Gulf of Mexico.