Brazil – Country of the future or has its time come for natural gas?

In recent years Brazil has received much attention in macro-economic circles as one of the high growth BRICS countries.  Its performance has waned of late, apparently due to lack of internal reforms and infrastructure bottlenecks, and as this paper, published today by the Natural Gas Programme of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies demonstrates, these factors certainly ‘read across’ to Brazil’s natural gas sector.

Initial excitement in the wake of Brazil’s offshore pre-salt hydrocarbon discoveries in 2007 and 2008 raised the prospect of Brazil becoming an LNG exporter.  Following further appraisal and market developments this prospect has receded and managing the country’s gas balance has been further complicated by low rainfall (and hence hydro availability) in recent years.  For these reasons Brazil has had to import LNG at Asian-equivalent spot prices to meet requirements which are difficult to forecast.

In short Brazil is a market which any observer of the natural gas world is required to develop a working understanding of: in view of its scale, its potential for growth and its impact on the global LNG market.  However, its circumstances and specificities make such an understanding extremely difficult.

This paper by Ieda Gomes offers a comprehensive, lucid and perceptive assessment of the evolution, status and future challenges of Brazil’s gas sector.

By: Ieda Gomes