Brazil still studying Chimarrão natural gas pipeline

Nov. 6, 2023
Initial studies by Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy are ongoing regarding the 1,237-km Bilac-Santa Maria and 1,168-km Penápolis-Canoas natural gas pipelines.

Initial studies by Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy are ongoing regarding the 1,237-km Bilac-Santa Maria and 1,168-km Penápolis-Canoas natural gas pipelines. The pipelines were proposed November 2020 to expand the use of gas in southern Brazil and further rationalize the country’s grid. Each pipeline would have an 8-million cu m/day (MMcmd) capacity and carry gas from São Paulo state to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state.

The projects are parallel developments for what would eventually be the Chimarrão gas pipeline, which will ship to Paraná and Santa Catarina states as well as Rio Grande do Sul (Fig. 1). Penápolis-Canoas is Chimarrão A and Bilac-Santa Maria Chimarrão B. 

Chimarrão A and Chimarrão B, both with 20-in. OD, are being studied to reach areas in Brazil without natural gas supply. Factors driving which project ends up advancing include the potential for replacing other fuels with natural gas and expected industrial growth. Smaller distribution lines would stretch off the main conduit. 

The project’s future depends in large measure on the continued availability of Bolivian gas (or Argentine gas routed through Bolivia) and the volume and timing of bringing Brazil’s presalt associated gas to market. Argentine gas could also, however, reach Brazil directly via TGM’s Uruguaiana pipeline (see main article) and completion of the Uruguaiana-Porto Alegre project (see figure).  


Either Chimarrão pipeline would start at an interconnect with the 11-billion cu m/year Bolivia-Brazil Gas Pipeline (Gasbol) in western São Paulo state, a region typified by large pastures and limited native vegetation. Both would then navigate the urban expansion surrounding Maringá and Londrina in northern Paraná state. 

In Santa Catarina, Chimarrão A would include large portions run through agricultural areas, with Chimarrão B instead crossing regions with extensive natural vegetation and forestation. Continuing south, both routes cross mostly hills, plateaus, and low mountains. Chimarrão A features more faults, cliffs, ravines, and sharp mountain tops by virtue of crossing the Serra Geral mountain range. Chimarrão A also crosses an unconsolidated sediment deposit area between Sapucaia do Sul and Portão (Rio Grande do Sul), increasing its geotechnical complexity. 

Chimarrão A ends near Porto Alegre in Canoas, which features a combination of urban expansion, vegetation, pastures, crop areas, and floodplains. Chimarrão B, crosses central Rio Grande do Sul, with large areas of pasture as well as soybean and corn crops. 

In total, Chimarrão A would cross 86 municipalities and Chimarrão B 69. Topography, proximity to deliver points, ecological considerations, indigenous lands, urban areas, and active mining sites all factor into detailed route planning. Chimarrão A would interfere with 38 mining projects (including 13 clay mines and 1 copper mine), while Chimarrão B crosses 24 mining sites (including 10 sand mines and 1 gold mine). Both would cross four reservoirs.

An assessment of highest potential municipal gas demand, using a 50-km radius from each, determined delivery points. Chimarrão A—featuring two compressor stations, one in Ibiporã, Paraná and the other in Laranjeiras do Sul, Paraná—would deliver to: 

  • Penápolis, São Paulo (0.5 MMcmd). 
  • Londrina, Paraná (1.5 MMcmd). 
  • Maringá, Paraná (0.5 MMcmd).
  • Pato Branco, Paraná (0.5 MMcmd).  
  • Chapecó, Santa Catarina (1.5 MMcmd). 
  • Erechim, Santa Catarina (0.5 MMcmd). 
  • Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul (1.0 MMcmd).
  • Garibaldi, Rio Grande do Sul (0.5 MMcmd). 
  • Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul (1.5 MMcmd). 

Chimarrão B—also with two compressor stations, one in Porecatu, Paraná, and one in Guarapuava, Paraná —would deliver to: 

  • Bilac, São Paulo (1.0 MMcmd). 
  • Indiana, São Paulo (0.5 MMcmd). 
  • Rolândia, São Paulo (1.0 MMcmd).
  • Apucarana, Paraná (0.5 MMcmd).
  • Guarapuava, Paraná (0.5 MMcmd). 
  • Videira, Santa Catarina (0.5 MMcmd). 
  • Joaçaba, Santa Catarina (1.5 MMcmd). 
  • Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul (1.0 MMcmd). 
  • Cruz Alto, Rio Grande do Sul (1.0 MMcmd). 
  • Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul (1.0 MMcmd). 

Chimarrão A would cost $2.1 billion and Chimarrão B $2.3 billion. 

Source: Project details from Brazil’s Energy Research Office (EPE).