Brazil starts tests for Latin America’s largest thermo plant

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Brazil has started testing the gas turbines for the 1.5GW Porto de Sergipe I plant, which will be part of Latin America’s largest LNG-to-power project.

The US$1.74bn project in northeast Brazil’s Sergipe state will be operated by Celse and is due to come online next month. At the end of November it received authorization for the tests and pre-operations of the LNG terminal. According to GE Power, the first test of the 7HA turbine, which is being used for the first time in Brazil, took place on Monday.

Celse reached an agreement with Golar Power to charter for 26 years the Golar Nanook, a fully customized newly built FSRU with storage capacity of 170Mm3. The project also involves a 34km 500kV high-voltage transmission line, a riser, and a mooring system. It will also have an 8.5km gas pipeline.

BNamericas takes a look at the stand-out features of the project:

Latin America’s largest thermopower plant: With 1.5GW capacity, the unit will be the biggest in the region until at least 2023, when the two plants operated by Gás Natural Açu, a joint venture between Prumo Logística, BP and Siemens, come online in Açu port, Rio de Janeiro state, totaling 2.9GW capacity. As of 2018, Brazil had 166 gas-fired plants with total capacity of 12.8GW.

The first LNG terminal operated by a private sector company in Brazil: The three operating LNG terminals in the country were built by state-run oil company Petrobras, but new projects from private sector firms are emerging as the NOC reduces its participation in the downstream and midstream segments. According to federal energy planning company EPE, there are plans for at least 23 new LNG terminals in Brazil.

A model that could be applied in other regions: Celse is a partnership between Golar Power and EBrasil. The JV recently won the concession for the Barcarena project, which will replicate the LNG-to-power model in Pará state in the north. The plant will require 1.5bn reais (US$364mn) and have capacity of 605MW. The company is also studying a similar project in Santa Catarina state in the south, known as Babitonga.

Sergipe state becomes a hotbed for energy projects: With the start of Porto de Sergipe, the state will be able to supply around 15% of electricity in the northeast, increasing the reliability of the national grid. Many other energy projects, however, will be developed in the state in the coming years as Petrobras will start producing in the deepwater fields discovered in the Sergipe-Alagoas basin and ExxonMobil begins exploration in the blocks it holds in the same region. Other projects under discussion for Sergipe include using LNG as a fuel for trucks.



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