Porto of Açu and GNA announce investments of BRL 6 billion in infrastructure and energy

Public and private investments include the construction of the largest natural gas-fired plant in the sector and infrastructure work on road and rail accesses that will boost the industrialization of Port of Açu

Port of Açu and Gas Natural Açu (GNA) announced this Monday (01/31) the completion of BRL6 billion in investments in infrastructure and energy in Porto do Açu, located in the northern region of Rio de Janeiro. The event was attended by the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, and the Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcísio de Freitas, senators and deputies from Rio de Janeiro, and officers of regulatory agencies. The Governor of the State of Rio, Claudio Castro, also attended the ceremony accompanied by his team of secretaries and the mayors of Campos, Wladimir Garotinho, and São João da Barra, Carla Machado. The delegation was welcomed by the CEO of Port of Açu, José Firmo, and by the CEO of GNA, Bernardo Perseke.

The investments include the expansion of road access to the port, the construction of a railroad branch, and the laying of the cornerstone of UTE GNA II, making official the start of construction of the largest natural gas-fired plant in Brazil, with 1,673 MW.

The works to expand the road accesses to the Port of Açu are part of the RJ Compact, an infrastructure investment package launched by the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro. As part of the technical cooperation agreement signed between Porto do Açu and the State Department of Roads (DER/RJ), the CEO of the Port of Açu delivered the technical engineering studies needed for the bidding of the works, budgeted at BRL 396 million. The expansion of road access is fundamental in view of the strategic significance of the port’s operations for several key sectors of the Brazilian economy, and in view of the projections for the undertaking’s growth in the coming years. The expansion of the roads will also have a positive impact on reducing traffic in urban areas, on road safety, and on improving the flow of local production.

Another milestone of the event was the signing ceremony of the railroad authorization contract between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Port of Açu, which formalized the first private authorization for railroad construction in the State of Rio de Janeiro, and the first Rio de Janeiro project included in the Ministry of Infrastructure’s Pro Trilhos Program. It corresponds to investments of BRL610 million for the construction of a 41 km stretch connecting Port of Açu’s terminals to the main branch of the railroad that will link the Norte Fluminense region to the national railroad network.

“The strategic geographic location of Port of Açu, close to the offshore basins of Campos and Santos, the predominant occurrence area of the Pre-Salt producing fields, has made the port a strategic location for logistical support to the offshore platforms. The expansion of road accesses will allow the growth of cargo movement in a sustainable way, with greater road safety, besides facilitating the outflow of local production. In relation to the railroad, studies indicate a potential for draining 16 million tons, of which 8 million tons of grains. These numbers indicate the additional potential for the Port to contribute to strategic sectors of the national economy, including agribusiness, and the huge opportunity for industrial development from these investments,” projects José Firmo, CEO of Port of Açu.

Also during the event, Gás Natural Açu (GNA) laid the cornerstone for the UTE [Thermoelectric Power Plant] GNA II. With investments of more than R$ 5 billion, UTE GNA II will be the largest and most efficient natural gas-fired plant in the country. Its 1,673 MW are equivalent to 10% of all the gas-fired generation capacity available today in the National Interconnected System (SIN) and guarantee the supply of 8 million homes.

The plant will operate in combined cycle, which guarantees lower costs, lower emission intensity, and greater energy efficiency, if compared to the thermoelectric power plants in operation. In addition, during operation the UTE GNA II will use seawater, reinforcing GNA’s commitment to the rational use of water resources.

To make the plant’s implementation feasible, GNA and the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) signed a BRL3.93 billion loan agreement in 2021.

“Today we officially celebrate the start of construction of UTE GNA II. A great step towards the consolidation of our gas generation park, the largest in Latin America. A structuring undertaking for the country and that will generate thousands of jobs, bringing even more security and resilience to the electric sector. We appreciate the trust of our employees, shareholders, construction companies, lenders, as well as the support of regulatory and institutional bodies, in the Federal, State, and Municipal spheres, who understand the importance of GNA as a vector of growth in the gas and energy market for the country,” commented Bernardo Perseke, CEO of GNA.

The executive added that GNA is investing in infrastructure development to drive the gas and power market, following the new regulatory framework. “We believe in the potential of natural gas in the context of energy transition and want to go further, expanding access to the fuel to industries and agents not connected to the pipeline network. With the railroad we study to make gas more accessible to the industries, and take the LNG received by the GNA Terminal at Porto do Açu to the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo and, possibly, to the Midwest,” he added.

UTE GNA II is part of the largest natural gas-fired thermoelectric power plant in Latin America, with 3 GW of installed capacity, enough to supply power to 14 million homes. The first plant, UTE GNA I, with 1,338 MW, started commercial operation in September last year and is generating safe and reliable energy for the country. The company also has 3.4 GW of licensed installed capacity, which will allow, in the near future, the expansion of the thermoelectric park to reach 6.4 GW.

To supply the plants, the GNA LNG Terminal is in operation, the first for private use in Brazil, where FSRU BW MAGNA is moored, a vessel with capacity to store and regasify up to 28 million cubic meters of gas per day. This volume is higher than the consumption needs of the thermoelectric park, which enables new business opportunities from natural gas. The expansion plans contemplate, in addition to the flow of gas by railroad, the construction of onshore pipelines, integrating Porto do Açu to the gas pipeline network and a natural gas processing unit, both projects at the licensing stage.