Brazil pushes for LNG trucks

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Liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand could grow by 30Mm3/d in Brazil if the country started using LNG-powered trucks, according to state-run Petrobras’ natural gas commercialization executive, Alvaro Tupiassú.

Tupiassú said the southeast, and partially the northeast, present most potential for LNG trucks. “Petrobras is looking at this since it will displace the diesel market,” he said recently in Rio de Janeiro city at an energy event organized by oil institute IBP.

Brazil currently has around 2mn trucks, most running on diesel. The replacement of the diesel fleet with LNG vehicles is currently the focus of studies by federal energy planning company EPE, which sees the measure helping the country to reach decarbonization goals.

“To make the energy transition we will need to bring stakeholders together and signal regulations so that the business models are transformed,” EPE’s director for energy economic studies, Giovani Machado, said at the same event.

Moves to change the truck fuel framework gathered strength after 2018’s grueling truckers’ strike, which was sparked by high diesel prices.

This year, Swedish truck producer Scania said it would start producing vehicles in Brazil powered with a mix of compressed natural gas (CNG) and biogas. Specialists, however, find using LNG better than CNG because the former demands fewer changes to the vehicles since LNG tanks are not as big and heavy.

Rising gas use is turning into a hot topic as Brazil pursues the end of Petrobras’ monopoly in the gas midstream and downstream markets, and vies for private investments in the sector. The expected increase in gas liquefaction capacity is seen as a side effect. Brazil currently has only three LNG terminals, all operated by Petrobras, but at least 23 new projects from private firms are already under study or in development.



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