Petrobras plans ethanol export pipelines

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, May 29 -- José Sérgio Gabrielli, president of Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), said the state-owned firm plans to have its first ethanol pipeline operating by yearend 2009.

"We are currently working on several phases of this pipeline and believe that the first phases should be operating by the end of 2009," said Gabrielli, who explained that the line is part of a larger export strategy.

"Petrobras has a very clear strategy of becoming a great international player in the trade and logistics of ethanol," he said. "We are establishing an export program, mainly to Japan, establishing logistics chains to take the product from the new areas to ports, through two large ethanol pipelines."

Petrobras announced plans to construct the two lines last year: an ethanol line from Goiás state to São Sebastião, São Paulo state port, and a line for both ethanol and biodiesel, to run from Cuiaba, Mato Grosso, to Paranagua in Paraná state (OGJ, June 11, 2007, p. 31).

Of the two, Gabrielli said this week, the most advanced is the $1 billion, 1,150-km line that will connect Senador Cañedo in the state of Goiás to the Paulínia Terminal in the state of São Paulo.

The line will pass through the cities of Uberaba, Ribeirão Preto, Guararema, and São Sebastião, as well as the Ilha d'Água terminal in Rio de Janeiro. The project also includes a stretch connecting the Tietê-Paraná Waterway to the Paulínia Terminal.

The project is based on a joint venture agreement signed between Petrobras, Mitsui & Co., and Brazilian construction company Camargo Corrêa, creating PMCC Ethanol Transport Projects SA. ((OGJ, Mar., 24, 2008, Newsletter).

Regarding the second planned line, connecting Cuaiba and Paranagua, Brazilian Energy Minister Edison Lobao announced in March the development of viability and environmental impact studies.

The studies, to be undertaken by Petrobras and technicians from the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Parana, are expected to be completed in June 2008.

Meanwhile, in April, Brazil Renewable Energy Co. (Brenco) said it plans to invest $1 billion to build a 1,100-km, 4 million l./year ethanol pipeline extending from Alto Taquari in Mato Grosso state to Santos—the country's largest port—in Sao Paulo state on the country's south Atlantic seaboard (OGJ Online, Apr. 29, 2008).

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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