There was a time when LNG trading analysts in London or Houston had their morning coffee in front of rain forecasts in Amazonas and Mato Grosso.
Brazil’s electricity massively relies on hydro production : low water levels trigger gas-fired power plants, and when that extra gas can’t flow from Bolivia, LNG is called to the rescue from Trinidad, Angola or Nigeria.
But then came lower demand, weaker currency, and, to say the least, a pretty messy political situation. Costly LNG supplies, but also LNG import infrastructure, soon paid the price of this crisis. Of three LNG terminals, only one remains active in the Nordeste.
The political hurricane is far from being over and the LNG decline is to continue, maybe to the point where all three floating regasification vessels will be sent to other seas. In 2016, Brazil barely imported more LNG than Portugal.
Entering the quiet waters of Guanabara Bay at sunrise, under the mythical shape of Pão de Açúcar, is on every seafarer’s list. For the crew of a newbuilt LNG tanker, this dream might never come true.
photo (c) Jean-Christian Heintz