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Posted on September 26, 2012
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 26 (Reuters) – Brazil’s state-led oil company Petrobras said in a statement on Wednesday that it leased two liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships from Excelerate Energy to transport and store the fuel and to help boost its role in the world LNG market.
The ships, the Excelsior and Excalibur, can each carry 138,000 cubic meters (4.87 million cubic feet) of LNG, or 82.8 million cubic meters of natural gas cooled to a negative 162 degrees Celsius (negative 260 Fahrenheit) and 1/600 of its original volume.
Together, the ships will allow Petrobras to transport 165.6 million cubic meters (5.85 billion cubic feet) of natural gas to Brazil, the statement said.
That’s enough to supply all of Brazil’s needs for about 2.5 days or nearly a third of the 582.8 million cubic meters of natural gas imported as LNG in 2011, according to Brazil’s Ministry of Energy and Mines.
Woodlands, Texas-based Excelerate Energy operates 10 LNG ships.
Excelerate Energy is one of 12 companies in the U.S. and three in Canada preparing LNG facilities to export growing quantities of U.S. and Canadian natural gas to foreign markets.
No terms of the lease contract were given.
So far this year, Petrobras has imported LNG from Nigeria, the United States, Qatar and Belgium at an average price of why $14.04 per million British thermal units (MBTU), the ministry said.
Brazil uses natural gas to generate electricity, provide heat for industrial processes, as a petrochemical feedstock and as a vehicle fuel. It has growing domestic supplies, but is concerned about potential shortfalls.
Petrobras began importing LNG in 2009 to help ensure supply of gas for electricity during dry periods when the country’s hydroelectric dam system is short of water.
Petrobras has two LNG terminals capable of converting LNG into gas, one at the port of Pecem near Fortaleza on the country’s northeastern coast. The other is in Rio de Janeiro.
The company is building a third terminal in the state of Bahia near Salvador. (Reporting by Jeb Blount; editing by Carol Bishopric)