GNA – Gás Natural Açu, a joint venture amongst bp, Siemens, SPIC Brasil and Prumo Logística, controlled by EIG Global Energy Partners, announced that, today, September 16, it had received authorization from the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (Aneel) to start the commercial operations of all generation units of GNA I. GNA I is a USD 1 billion LNG-to-power project located at Port of Açu, in the northern region of Rio de Janeiro.
With 1,338 MW of installed capacity, enough to supply energy for 6 million households, GNA I will contribute to the energy security of the National Interconnected System (SIN).
Recently, GNA carried out its first infrastructure debenture issue, for the refinancing operation of UTE GNA I, in the total amount of $1.8 billion BRL. The transaction was unprecedented in the capital markets due to several factors, with emphasis on the performance of BNDES, acting for the first time as structuring bank and anchor investor in this type of operation.
In addition to GNA I, the company will build GNA II, with 1,672 MW of installed capacity, — enough to supply energy for up to 14 million households. With 3.0 GW of long-term PPAs under contract and an additional 3.4 GW of licensed expansion for GNA III and GNA IV projects, the 6.4 GW complex is the largest in Latin America and includes a FSRU BW MAGNA, a 28 MMm3/day operational LNG floating storage regasification unit.
The strategic location of Port of Açu, close to the offshore producing gas fields and the 500 kV transmission circuit to be implemented in the region, will enable the creation of a Gas and Power Hub for reception, processing, and transportation of associate gas and the integration between gas, energy, and industrial sectors. Furthermore, it facilitates the export of large energy blocks, playing a relevant and strategic role in the country’s socioeconomic development in the coming years. The estimated total planned investment in the GNA gas and power complex is approximately USD 5 billion.
The CEO of GNA, Bernardo Perseke, highlights that starting the commercial operation of GNA I is a milestone in the company’s history: “We are pleased to announce the start of commercial operations at our first plant, which marks GNA´s transition to an operating company, as a key player in the Brazilian energy sector. We went into operation at a crucial moment for the country by bringing reliable energy to the system from LNG, which is a cleaner fuel and considered a catalyst for the global energy transition.”
The Chief Operating Officer of GNA, Carlos Baldi, emphasizes that this achievement is the result of the teamwork of very committed and dedicated professionals: “We faced together the biggest health crisis in history – the Covid-19 pandemic, which challenged us to seek solutions with health and safety as priorities, and to finish this project.
Bernardo adds: “My thanks to the GNA team, our shareholders, financiers and partners, as well as the support of several institutional authorities, at the Federal, State and Municipal levels.”
Energy efficiency and social and environmental commitment
GNA I is a combined cycle power plant composed of three gas turbines and one steam turbine. Thanks to advanced technologies, approximately one third of the energy produced by the plant is generated from the steam turbine. This translates into generating capacity of approximately 465 MW – enough to supply more than 2 million households – without additional gas consumption.
The combined cycle operation and use of high energy efficiency turbines, which combines lower gas consumption and lower atmospheric emissions, ensures the supply of electricity on a stable and secure basis to complement the expansion of renewable sources.
The engineering, supply and construction of the plant (EPC) is being provided by Siemens Energy, in consortium with Andrade Gutierrez. The company will also be responsible for operation and maintenance (O&M) in the power plant.
The power plant includes a desalination unit responsible for supplying water to the thermoelectric complex. This unit allows the plant´s commercial operation to be based on 100% use of sea water, reinforcing GNA’s commitment to using water resources in the most sustainable way.
Construction of the power plant began in 2018 and has employed more than 12,000 people throughout the project’s construction. To support the training of the local population, GNA created a free Professional Qualification Program where 56% of the students who completed the courses were hired to work at GNA’s projects and has included a significant number of women, encouraging gender equality in the workforce.
The strong safety culture is also a milestone. GNA did not record any accident during the more than three years of construction, reaching 25-million-hours worked without a lost time injury in the implementation phase. This benchmark in the industry is the result of continuous awareness and daily prevention, which was carried out by GNA and its contracted companies, for whom life and respect for the environment are priorities.
International recognition in combating gender-based violence
Recently, GNA received significant external recognition for its adoption of good environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for their gender-based violence prevention program as an international reference case.
Part of what sets GNA apart is its shareholding structure, made up of leading companies in their respective areas of activity. This partnership strengthens GNA’s performance by providing technology, technical and operational knowledge, as well as resources to develop and operate a world-class Gas and Power Hub.
Carlos Tadeu Fraga, CEO of Prumo, highlights the relevance of GNA to the business development strategy at the Port of Açu: “Açu’s unique location and infrastructure characteristics allow the development of an integrated gas, energy and industrial hub. The start of operations of the GNA I TPP is a milestone for the Port of Açu and will contribute to the attraction of gas-intensive industries, fundamental to drive industrialization in the port’s retro-area, and to accelerate the low-carbon businesses that Prumo intends to attract in the coming years. The GNA I operation positions Açu as a pioneer in this transition and a gateway for renewable and structuring projects in Brazil.”
Mario Lindenhayn, bp’s Head of Country Brazil, highlights that natural gas will be increasingly relevant in the Brazilian energy transition and reinforces that GNA, as an LNG-to-power development, has an important role in the company’s strategy in the country.
“bp is an integrated energy company with global operations. Therefore, in addition to being a GNA investor and an exclusive supplier of LNG, we contribute to the project through our extensive experience in the LNG, natural gas and power trading segments. We operate in several gas hubs around the world, and we have the know-how to contribute to the operation optimization and risk mitigation for GNA.”
“With this important milestone achieved, UTE GNA I is positioned to be a major contributor to the Brazilian energy sector,” Wolfgang Beitz, CFO of Siemens Brazil, commented. “Along with our shareholders, Siemens is proud of our achievements to date on this project.”
SPIC Brazil is part of one of the top five power generating groups in China, with a total installed capacity of 176 GW. “We are leaders in solar, wind, hydroelectric, hydrogen and thermal energy, including gas and nuclear. Being part of this joint venture between major companies means maintaining our commitment to develop energy from innovative, sustainable and competitive sources for the Brazilian energy matrix,” says Adriana Waltrick, CEO of SPIC Brazil.
The works of the UTE GNA II will start in a short time, and it is expected to generate about 5,000 jobs during the construction phase. In addition, GNA also holds environmental licenses to more than double its original capacity, reaching up to 6.4 GW, which will allow the development of new thermoelectric projects at Açu. The complex expansion also includes onshore gas pipelines and a natural gas processing unit (NGPU), currently under licensing.
GNA – Gás Natural Açu is a joint venture amongst bp, Siemens, SPIC Brazil and Prumo Logística, controlled by EIG Global Energy Partners, which is dedicated to the development, implementation and operation of structuring projects and sustainable natural gas and energy. The company is building in Port of Açu, Rio de Janeiro, the largest LNG-to-power complex in Latin America. Currently, the project includes the development of two natural gas-fired thermoelectric plants (GNA I and GNA II), which together, will achieve 3 GW of installed capacity. The two thermoelectric plants will generate enough energy to supply about 14 million homes. Besides, the project includes an LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) Regasification Terminal, of 21 million cubic meters/day.