Brazil steps up ethanol, renewables production

Brazil's state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has identified $700 million in investments in biofuels and other renewables during 2007-11.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, July 11-- Brazil's state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has identified $700 million in investments in biofuels and other renewables during 2007-11.

Petrobras Chief Executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo said much of the spending would be for pipelines, while a company spokeswoman said the firm is planning 3.5 million cu m/year of ethanol capacity for its pipelines and export vessels.

In February Petrobras signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan's Mitsui & Co. and Brazilian Construciones e Comercio Camargo Correa SA to study the construction of pipelines for exporting ethanol (OGJ Online, Feb. 28, 2007). And in March the Japan Bank for International Cooperation signed a memorandum of understanding to provide Petrobras with $8 billion to help it export the ethanol to Japan (OGJ Online, Mar. 6, 2007).

Brazil is the world's second-largest ethanol producer after the US and is the world's leading exporter of ethanol made from sugar cane.

Answering environmentalists, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in a national radio broadcast that his country's stepped-up ethanol trade would not destroy rainforests or harm the Amazon region. Lula said Amazon weather conditions are not favorable for sugar cane crops and that increased ethanol production would not prompt more jungle clearing.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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