Portocem Thermoelectric Power Plant (UTE Portocem) in Brazil will receive LNG from a FSRU moored within the basin of the Port of Pecém. (Credit: Complexo do Pecém)
The 1.6GW plant will comprise four natural gas-fired Mitsubishi M501JAC gas turbines.(Credit: Business Wire)
The project will be one the largest power plants to be built in Latin America. (Credit: Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc.)

Portocem Thermoelectric Power Plant (UTE Portocem) is an LNG-to-Power project being developed in the Ceará Free Trade Zone, in the State of Ceará, Brazil.

With a capacity of around 1.6GW, the project will be one the largest power plants to be built in Latin America.

Portocem Geração de Energia, a Ceiba Energy group company, is the owner of the thermoelectric power plant. Portocem was one of the winners of the power capacity reserve auction held in December 2021 to provide power for the National Interconnected System (SIN) in Brazil.

The construction of the UTE Portocem began with a groundbreaking ceremony held in May 2023. It is expected to commence commercial operation in July 2026.

The development of power plant is intended to support stability at times of surge in power demand. The project will also support the continued growth of renewable energy generation in Brazil.

UTE Portocem location details

The Portocem Thermoelectric Power Plant is a greenfield project being built in the Ceará Free Trade Zone (ZPE Ceará), within the municipality of Caucaia, in the Brazilian state of Ceará.

The site is around 50km northwest of Fortaleza, the state capital, and it is considered ideal to connect to the existing gas supply and transmission infrastructure.

The existing port is situated around 15km away from the location.


Founded in 2015, Houston-based power company Ceiba Energy owns several power generation assets in Latin America.

The company, backed by investment firm Denham Capital, acquired the Portocem LNG-to-Power Project in April 2020.

The plant received the generation licence from the Ministry of Mines and Energy in August 2022. The site has the permission to generate up to 2.2GW of power.

The project will entail an investment of around BRL5bn ($900m).

It will be financed via Denham Capital’s equity funds and debt to be raised from regional and national development banks and capital markets.

UTE Portocem Power Plant Details

The Portocem LNG-to-Power Project will be developed in the Pecém Industrial and Port Complex.

The 1.6GW plant will comprise four natural gas-fired Mitsubishi M501JAC gas turbines, which adopt air cooling for combustors instead of steam cooling. This is a modified model of M501J and offers additional operational flexibility by detaching the gas turbine from the bottoming cycle.

The gas turbines weigh around 347 tonnes and can achieve a speed of 3,600rpm. In a simple cycle configuration, M501JAC gas turbine can generate up to 453MW.

The LNG supply for the Portocem project will be procured from a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), chartered by Portocem.

The vessel will be permanently moored at the Port of Pecém.

The FSRU will also supply gas to boost the industrial development of Brazil’s Northeast Region and to help reduce their reliance on conventional fuels.

Besides LNG, the four gas turbines may partially be fuelled by hydrogen to deliver low-carbon power in the region.

The UTE Portocem project will be connected to Brazil’s National Interconnected System (SIN) at the existing Pecém II substation, via an approximately 6km 500kV transmission line.

Offtake agreement

In November 2022, Ceiba signed a 15-year Power Capacity Reserve Agreement with the Brazilian power system clearinghouse, the Electrical Energy Commercialization Chamber (CCEE).

Contractors Involved

In May 2023, Ceiba Energy signed an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract with a consortium of Mitsubishi Power Americas and engineering company CONSAG regarding the Portocem Thermoelectric Power Plant.

Under the contract, Mitsubishi Power will supply four M501JAC enhanced air-cooled gas turbines.

CONSAG will be responsible for providing the balance of plant (BoP), utilities, civil works, assembly, and commissioning of the plant including the construction of the transmission line and the new 500kV bay at Pecém II substation.

Sener, an engineering and technology company, will provide the basic and detailed engineering services at the power plant.