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REGIONAL REPORTSOUTH AMERICA


Brazil welcomes private investors


Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro cuts a controversial figure on the world stage. In late 2019, he put public sector reforms on hold in an effort to stave off social unrest. But the country is opening up more and more to private investors under the president’s free-market policies. Murilo Caldana (pictured), project director at Fox


Brasil and The Heavy Lift Group’s (THLG) president and business development officer, summarised: “The privatisation of infrastructure (including ports, airports, railways, subways and highways) is providing opportunities for project cargo.” Another positive development is that energy


auctions, with a special emphasis on oil and gas, are now being run differently; in the past, state-owned Petrobras held the largest share of each consortium, but the market is more open nowadays. Eight active Petrobras refineries, representing 50 percent of the


destabilise everything in the medium term but I think investments will follow. The political climate is very bad for all countries in the region, but somehow projects are not falling behind. I think investors are taking a broader view of things,” Castro considered.


Constant crises Porrúa agreed. His view of the situation is that although nothing puts off investors like uncertainty, in Latin America’s recent history crises – whether political, social or economic – have been a constant presence, with varying degrees of intensity. “This results in a certain tolerance for


uncertainty in the market,” he said. “In addition, the historical lack of infrastructure and energy in the region suggests that somehow, even in complex circumstances, some investors take a ‘business as usual’ approach and work to develop new projects.” Indeed, Altius has been busy with


projects across South America. In Chile, it is finishing part of Acciona’s Tolpan wind energy project in the southern Araucanía region, and working on solar energy projects in the north. In Bolivia, where the focus is on


connecting nodes in the energy network, Altius is coming to the end of its contract on a new cement plant in Potosí. It is now starting work on the 100 MW Laguna


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company’s (and the country’s) refining capacity, are to be sold. Furthermore, Bolsonaro has authorised the 17th


bidding round for exploration and production of oil and natural gas in 2020, which will include 128 blocks in the Pará-Maranhão, Potiguar, Campos, Santos and Pelotas basins – an area totaling 64,100 sq km. In addition, a working group on the exploration


and production of oil and natural gas on the Brazilian continental shelf extension has been created. “Currently, the main focus is on the near-pre-salt


range, where, if findings are confirmed, there is an expectation of increasing the volume of Brazil’s oil and gas reserves by about 50 percent, currently estimated at 15.9 billion barrels,” according to a report from Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE). There are also efforts to promote renewable


energy. The government has stated its commitment to increase the proportion of biodiesel in the diesel blend in the period up to 2023, for instance. Brazil is still looking for a partner to help state-


owned nuclear power company Electronuclear complete the Angra 3 plant, with a view to starting operations in 2026. Other developments include Enel’s 133 MW


expansion of the São Gonçalo solar park in Piauí state, taking the total capacity of the site to 608 MW. Enel also started building its 716 MW Lagoa dos Ventos wind farm in Piauí during 2019 and expects this facility – the largest wind farm currently under construction in South America, with 230 turbines – to begin operations in 2021. “So many opportunities are coming,” Caldana


repeated. In fact: “The market believes so much in Brazil’s upcoming projects that we will be organising the fall conference meeting and customer summit of THLG in Rio de Janeiro in November 2020.”


Chile’s Quebrada


Blanca copper mine is undergoing improvements.


The social problems in the region will destabilise everything in the medium term but I think investments will follow. The political climate is very bad for all countries, but somehow


projects are not falling behind. – Renatto Castro, Andina Freight


Colorada geothermal energy project, which is developed by Sacyr Industrial and Ormat . As for Peru, a highlight is the ongoing


expansion of the Talara refinery, already mentioned by Castro and on which Altius has been working since 2014. Porrúa concluded: “As Benjamin Disraeli


said, I am prepared for the worst, but I hope for the best. It is difficult to make predictions about next year, but we are confident of knowing how to navigate turbulent seas.”


HLPFI January/February 2020 www.heavyliftpfi.com


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