Brazil new strategy for energy independence

Brazil new strategy for energy independence

Bento Costa de Albuquerque, Minister of Mining and Energy, unveiled the strategic projects recently for Brazil energy independence.

The concept applies to all exploitation of the country’s mineral wealth, even to uranium reserves, the only ore on which the Union still has a constitutional monopoly. It is not the monopoly that guarantees the sovereignty, but the capacity of the state, and the government, as well as the to exploit the assets of the country and defend their interests. ”

Under the minister’s plans are public-private partnerships for the exploration of the uranium mines of Caetité (BA) and Santa Quitéria (CE), from regional models, and the negotiation of the intricate environmental barriers for its exploitation is paralyzed. The resumption of exploitation of both, he says, will involve the establishment of external partnerships.

Bento Albuquerque still sees an increasing interest in foreign capital for investment in Angra 3. The financial modeling for financing is not yet ready, but the lack of definition has not discouraged the consultations. He says he has received concrete reports of this interest from the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Bruno Eustaquio, who recently met Vice President Hamilton Mourão on a trip to China. China, he said, has 45 nuclear power generation plants and ten under construction. Today 12% of its generation of electric power has a nuclear origin and the objective is to reach 25%, even level of the United States. To the investors of that country, Eustáquio presented the planning of auctions for the sector. “They are interested in all areas of power generation, and particularly in nuclear power,” he says. The government will define the international bidding model for the choice of the partner for Angra 3 soon.

The occupant of some of the leading positions in command of the nuclear project of the country, reaching the General Directorate of Nuclear and Technological Development of the Navy, Bento Albuquerque participated in the strategic partnership between Brazil and France for the development of the submarine with nuclear propulsion.

It is therefore aware of the reluctant resistance of sectors of the Navy to the signing of the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The contract would expand the international inspections to which the country would have to submit.

He faces it with the argument that the protocol cannot be imposed on Brazil, a country that has reserves and dominates the technology of enrichment, just as it is for other countries without the same predicates. “Brazil is a nuclear country,” he says. However, it does not rule out that, when negotiated safeguards in the annexes, the country could negotiate accession to the protocol. It intends to repeat this year’s annual visits to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

His conception of sovereignty also shapes the future he projects to Petrobras. With the sale of the refineries scheduled for June, Bento believes that the state-owned company could dedicate itself to its vocation, offshore exploration in deep waters.

Since his inauguration, he said, he has already had the opportunity to meet the world presidents of three of the world’s largest oil companies, BP, Shell, and Exxon, all of which have shown interest in expanding partnerships with Petrobras.

The minister also hopes to accelerate the extension to refineries of the breach of the Petrobras monopoly set by Congress since 1997. “Brazil exports oil and imports derivatives, while our refineries do not operate at full capacity because of lack of investment,” he said. To prevent these investments from generating private monopolies, the minister intends to change the status of the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE).

The minister also shows a disposition to face the environmental conflicts that surround the construction of hydroelectric plants with reservoirs. Only the Tocantins-Araguaia basin has 50,000 megawatts in power plants to be built, but the sector today lives under the shadow of disasters in Belo Monte. “If these hydroelectric plants are important for the country’s energy security, we will enable them,” he said.

He also said that his portfolio is preparing to present the decennial energy plan in December, in addition to the national energy plan until 2050.

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Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.