Natural gas has large potential to complement the renewable, wind, solar and hydropower generation (increasingly dependent on run-of-the-river hydropower plants in the country), sources that have gained space in the Brazilian energy matrix. As a result, the pre-salt natural gas reserves stand out, and the challenge is to benefit from them and turn them into viable options. Those were some of the conclusions of the Debate Series on Oil and Economics Pre-Salt Gas: Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects, organized by the IBP on March 17.

The Oil & Gas Secretary for the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Márcio Félix, pointed out that the government has launched the “Gas for Growth” program with a view to giving the best destination for the pre-salt production and stimulating its use, for example, in industry and in power generation, but always at competitive prices.

He said that, for such end, the regulatory changes required are under discussion and a broad debate among all links in the production chain is already underway in the subcommittees of the program. “We want to submit all the proposed amendments to the law that need to be passed by the Legislative Branch until May”, he said.

IBP’s Natural Gas Executive Secretary, Luiz Costamilan, pointed out that pre-salt gas is associated with oil. Therefore, he said, it is necessary to have “a firm destination” for the input, in order to make it competitive and ensure the continued production of oil.

“An alternative would be to operate some thermoelectric power stations at the base [without interruption], which becomes necessary due to the growth of wind farms and run-of-the-river hydropower plants, which are intermittent, despite operating at different cycles”, said the Executive Secretary.

According to Costamilan, in recent years of unfavorable hydrology, half of all the gas consumed in the country – about 100 million cubic meters/day – has already been geared towards thermoelectric power generation.

According to the executive, the gas market is under transformation with the sale of Petrobras assets and new rules for the sector are required mainly for transportation, offloading and processing of offshore gas production and taxation, with a view to developing the market and ensure the participation of several players, thus increasing competition.

In addition to Costamilan and Félix, the event was attended by Edmar de Almeida, professor of the Institute of Economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Thiago Barral, Generation Projects Superintendent for the Energy Research Company (EPE), Mauro Yuji Hayashi, Petrobras’ General E&P Design Manager, among other executives, experts and academicians.

Check out the schedule for the next Debate Series events in 2017:

June 30 | Attractiveness of the Brazilian Upstream Oil & Gas beyond the pre-salt

September 22 | Regulation of Decommissioning and its Impacts on Upstream Competitiveness in Brazil

December 1 | Supply of Liquid Fuels in Brazil: Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects