Brazil’s Natural Gas Imports Fall to Lowest Level In 20 Years Thanks to Hydro Push

Brazil’s natural gas imports fell to a 20-year low last year, to 6.5 billion cubic meters, or 228 billion cubic feet, as it boosts renewables

Story By Julianne Geiger | | Brazil’s natural gas imports fell to a 20-year low last year, according to data from the National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP).

Brazil’s natural gas imports fell to 6.5 billion cubic meters, or 228 billion cubic feet, according to ANP, as the country boosts its hydroelectric capabilities as well as solar and wind capacity.

The figures are on par with the amount of nat gas Brazil imported back in 2003, and compared to the 9 cubic meters imported in 2022, and 16.9 cubic meters imported in 2021, the data compiled by Reuters shows.

The trend is clear: Brazil has been consistently importing smaller and smaller volumes of nat gas since 2015—with the exception of the spike in 2021 as a severe drought impacted its hydroelectric capabilities.

While natural gas imports may be falling, the nation’s national oil company, Petrobras, has budgeted a large $102 billion capex for 2024-2028—a 31% increase over the plan from 2023-2027. Petrobras has earmarked $72 billion of that budget for spending on exploration and production activities. The state-run oil company has previously said that it plans to become the world’s fourth-largest oil producer by 2030.

Petrobras has been under pressure to boost its nat gas production to reduce the price of natural gas for consumers, and several new natural gas projects are scheduled to start up beginning this year—the first of which will be Rota 3.

Brazil relies on hydroelectric power for between 66%-75% of its total power generation—but in 2015 and 2021, severe droughts affected Brazil’s ability to generate power from this source. Brazil has relied on gas-fired power to fill the gap, purchasing most of what it needs from Bolivia, supplemented by LNG from the United States and other places.

By Julianne Geiger for

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