Petrobras to invest $ 2.4 bn in biodiesel and ethanol until 2013

Mar 05, 2009 01:00 AM

Brazil's state-run oil giant Petrobras announced it will invest $ 2.4 bn in biofuel production over the next five years.
Petrobras Biocombustivel's Business Plan calls for investments in the order of $ 2.4 bn in biodiesel and ethanol production for the 2009-2013 period, 91 % of which to be made in Brazil. This amount is part of the total of $ 2.8 bn Petrobras earmarked for the biofuels business, which also foresees expenditures of $ 400 mm in infra-structure, such as ethanol pipelines. The total resources represent an 87 % increase compared to the previous Business Plan. Petrobras also earmarked $ 530 mm for biofuel research in the period.

Of the $ 2.4 bn, 80 % will be invested in ethanol, while 20 % in biodiesel. One of the company's goals is to reach 2013 producing 640 mm litres of biodiesel in Brazil.
To achieve it, a new plant is expected to be built in Northern Brazil, the Candeias (state of Bahia) plant will be duplicated, and the experimental plants in Guamare, in the state of RioGrande do Norte, will be adapted for commercial production. Work will also be done on enhancing production capacity at the Quixada (state of Ceara) and Montes Claros (state of Minas Gerais) plants. Furthermore, the possibility of acquiring two new plants is under consideration.

Insofar as international performance in biodiesel is concerned, studies for the project developed in partnership with Portuguese outfit Galp Energia, which calls for the annual production of 330,000 cm of vegetable oil in Brazil and 320,000 cm of biodiesel in Portugal, will be continued. The deployment of a biodiesel production unit in Africa is also being planned.
For the ethanol segment, the goal is to reach, in partnerships, the production of 1.9 bn litres of the product in 2013, aimed at the foreign market, and 1.8 bn litres to be distributed in the domestic market.

The idea is to sign partnerships, yet this year, for four new ethanol production projects, involving a foreign partner, which will ensure market share, and a domestic ethanol producer. The company may also acquire participation in existing plants.
Abroad, meanwhile, an ethanol production unit is under analysis for Colombia.

Corporate strategy:
-- Perform globally in the production of biofuels, holding relevant stakes in the biodiesel and ethanol businesses.

Strategies for the biodiesel segment:
-- Structure the agricultural supply chains via integrated productive arrangements to ensure the regular, competitive provision of feedstock, driving regional development and prioritizing the Brazilian semi-arid region;
-- Prioritize the supply of feedstock from family farming by means of sustainable and competitive models;
-- Participate in the domestic production of biodiesel, seeking operating excellence, product quality, competitiveness and sustainability;
-- Ensure the development of competitive biodiesel production technologies, based, mainly, on residual biomass feedstock;
-- Perform, via partnerships, in opportunities abroad,seeking synergies with other Petrobras System businesses and prioritizing Africa.

Strategies for the ethanol segment:
-- Perform in ethanol production, participating in the productive chain in Brazil;
-- Participate, via partnerships, in new projects in Brazil and/or acquire stakes in existing plants, seeking to supply the external market and part of the demand resulting from the growth in the domestic market;
-- Perform in ethanol production partnerships in opportunities abroad, seeking synergies with other Petrobras System businesses and prioritizing Latin America and Africa;
-- Ensure the development of competitive second generation ethanol production technologies, based, mainly, on residual biomass feedstock.

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