By Stephen Eisenhammer, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil will become self-sufficient in natural gas within the next five years, after which it will grow into an influential exporter, according to Edison Lobão, Brazil’s energy and mining minister. In an interview with Globo, Lobão said Brazil is set to “live in a golden age for gas”.
Brazil’s national petroleum agency (ANP) working alongside a number of energy companies have uncovered massive on-land gas reserves, in Mato Grosso, São Francisco, Parecis and Minas Gerais, which could be as large a discovery as the oil in the pre-salt, off-shore Brazil.
Natural gas is most commonly used in gas powered power plants to generate electricity although it is also an increasingly popular vehicle fuel. Many taxis in Rio today run off natural gas.
Brazil, which currently imports natural gas from Bolivia as well as Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from countries such as Nigeria and Qatar, is set to increase its supply to the domestic market by 360 percent to 300 million cubic meters per day by between 2025 and 2027.
By 2020 Petrobras, Brazil’s largest energy company, estimates to be producing 200 million cubic meters per day.
The potential may be enormous, however, much work remains to be done. Despite annual investment of US$120 million by the ANP, 96 percent of the basins are still unexplored.
ANP will need to organize new bidding rounds to sell exploratory and production rights to energy companies. New bidding rounds were stalled in 2008 following the pre-salt discovery.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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