Petrobras's plans for increased import capacity have advanced after the Brazilian company selected US-based Excelerate Energy to supply the country's third floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) by July 2013.
Petrobras's gas and energy director Maria das Graças Foster told ICIS Heren on 24 August that the Brazilian state energy company and Excelerate signed a letter of intent for the 15-year timecharter on 12 August.
The rate for the charter is understood to be finalised between $130,000/day and $140,000/day.
A third site at Bahia in the northeast of Brazil has been chosen for the new import terminal, but Petrobras will transfer the existing 138,000 cubic metre (m³) Golar Winter, currently at Guanabara Bay near Rio de Janeiro, to the new location.
In turn, Excelerate will provide a vessel, from its existing fleet to the Rio de Janeiro-based terminal to use as a bridging vessel until a new and larger FSRU vessel can be deployed.
The US company is expected to provide one of its existing 150,900m³ class tankers under a separate short-term charter deal.
The confirmation of the deal coincided with Excelerate placing a firm order with South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for a new 170,400m³ FSRU vessel, which will be ultimately be earmarked for Guanabara Bay.
The vessel is scheduled to arrive at Guanabara Bay by May 2014 and will increase the throughput capacity at the terminal from 14 million cubic metres (Mm³)/day to 20 Mm³/day.
In total, a third terminal for Petrobras will boost prospective LNG import volumes to 35Mm³/day, or 4Mm³/day more than aggregate pipeline imports from Bolivia, according to the Brazilian company.
Excelerate beat off strong competition from Norway-based shipping firms Golar LNG and Höegh LNG−.
The US-based company has three of its vessels deployed as FSRUs: the 138,000m³ Excellence at Bahia Blanca in Argentina, and the 150,900m³ Exemplar and Exquisite at Bahia Blanca in Argentina and Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait, respectively.
The company has been named as the preferred supplier for FSRU projects in Israel and Puerto Rico, fuelling speculation that Excelerate may hold options with DSME for more 170,400m³ vessels (see GLM 4 March and 24 June).