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Wilson Sons sees business opportunities for maritime support with New Gas Law

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LNG Industry,

With the New Gas Law in Brazil, sanctioned on 8 April, LNG will have a relevant role in the national market. Among the main advantages of the fuel are the competitive prices, in addition to the flexibility of origin. And the op-portunities in this industry also bring favourable winds to the port support sector.

Wilson Sons, the largest operator of maritime and port logistics in the Brazilian market, is prepared to meet the growth of this market. In the last year, the Company's Towage division carried out more than 25 special operations, which included services to the natural gas or LNG sector, as support for gas carriers and FSRUs, and also to the oil and gas sector in support of FPSOs and drilling rigs.

“Today we have a fleet of 80 tugs, the largest in Brazil, spread across the Brazilian coast. Four are high power escort tug models, and we are waiting for a new series of six new units of this class, which started to be built this year at the Company's shipyard in Guarujá (SP)”, says Elísio Dourado, commercial director of the Wilson Sons’ Towage division.

Among the customers served by Wilson Sons tugs in this segment is Celse (Centrais Elétricas de Sergipe), which operates the Port of Sergipe Thermo-electric Power Plant (TPP). With 1.5 GW of installed capacity, the Sergipe TPP is supplied by a regasification terminal, capable of storing up to 170 000 m3 of LNG and regasifying up to 21 million m3/d of gas. To give you an idea, the Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline, one of the most important in the country, can transport 30 million m3/d.

Wilson Sons’ tugboats operate in ship to ship operations (cargo transfer from ship to ship) to supply the terminal. “These are highly complex operations and require a high level of security, with adequate planning and train-ing. Having a partner with Wilson Sons' experience is a plus”, highlights Lucas Buranelli, LNG terminal operations manager at Celse.

Today, the Towage business unit has world-class status in safety, based on standards defined by Du Pont, a reference consultancy in the sector. In the last two years, 14 campaigns focused on HSE have been carried out and more than 75 thousand hours of training have been accumulated. The company also has the Towage Operations Centre (COR), which monitors vessels 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and uses technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, among others.

New markets

LNG terminals are also seen in Brazil as an alternative for monetising pre-salt gas. Data from the Brazilian Petroleum Institute (IBP) show that the new Gas Law can generate investments of up to R$17.1 billion for the construction of natural gas processing units and LNG terminals.

Other opportunities are the projects involving cabotage and the commercialisation of LNG on a small scale. The objective is to meet the demand for gas in the interior of the country, where there are no gas pipelines to carry the fuel. “Currently, gas reaches a very restricted territory, but with new measures for the sector and greater investment in infrastructure for its flow, it will be possible to transport LNG in larger volumes at competitive prices. It is an alternative to firewood, coal and also gasoline, diesel and heavy oil”, highlights Buranelli.

For Elísio, the Brazilian natural gas market is undergoing a major transformation, with a potential for investments in the generation of thermoelectric energy, in the industry as a raw material, in the replacement of diesel and fuel oil. “Natural gas has a significant role in the diversification of the Brazilian energy matrix and is key to the transition to a low-carbon economy”, he points out.

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