Petrobras is going to invest US$ 3.275 billion in the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo up to 2010. This information was announced yesterday by Paulo Roberto Costa, the state-owned company supply director, during a meeting with state governor Geraldo Alckmin.
“Petrobras has two great hubs for these activities in the country: Rio de Janeiro, in the area of exploration and production, and São Paulo, where the main activity is supply, with strong presence in the area of refinery,” stated Costa, through a company statement.
In total, US$ 2.8 billion will be invested in the areas of refining, petrochemical industry and transport, which, according to the company, should generate 100,000 new jobs.
Information provided by the state government shows that US$ 2.14 billion will be invested in the expansion of the productive capacity of refineries in the cities of Cubatão, on the coast of the state of São Paulo; Paulínia, in the metropolitan region of Campinas, in the interior of the state, Mauá, in the metropolitan region of the capital, and São José dos Campos, in Paraíba Valley, in the northern region of the state.
According to Petrobras, the main company interest is modernization of refineries so as to improve the quality of products such as diesel, which will have lower levels of sulphur and, consequently, be less polluting.
The investments also contemplate enterprises in petrochemical industries in the cities of Capuava, in greater São Paulo and in Paulínia. In the latter, the state-owned company plans to open a new factory to produce 300,000 tons a year of polypropylene.
Another topic discussed during the meeting, according to the state government, was the schedule for installation of a new network of pipelines for the distribution of natural gas from Mexilhão Field, in Santos Basin, on the coast of São Paulo.
In 2003, Petrobras discovered reserves of over 400 billion cubic meters of gas in the basin, and they have not yet been started being explored.
The government of the state of São Paulo is interested in promoting greater use of gas in the Brazilian energy matrix and, this way, providing incentives for exploration of the basin.
One of the ideas is to replace the use of diesel with that of natural gas in the fleet of Urban buses in the metropolitan regions of São Paulo, Campinas and Santos. According to the governor, the total of buses is approximately 15,000.
According to Alckmin, the consumption of natural gas in the state has been growing 15% a year. In his evaluation, the expansion of exploration and use of the product is going to reduce the costs of fuels and create jobs. As well as, of course, generating royalties for the state.
Alcohol was also one of the main themes of the meeting. Petrobras, through its Transpetro and BR Distribuidora subsidiaries, plans to invest US$ 330 million in infrastructure for the transport of the product in the next five years, including, among other things, the construction of four alcohol transport pipelines.
With these works, Petrobras plans to export 8 billion liters of fuel alcohol a year. Brazil currently exports 2.4 billion liters per year.
“With the Kyoto Protocol, we have a great opportunity for exploration of ethanol. Japan alone has already approved a law to add 3% alcohol to petrol. And in São Paulo we have the largest area of sugarcane cropland in the world, we are the largest world producer of sugar and alcohol. So as to be able to export, we must have transport logistics. The construction of pipelines is, therefore, very significant,” stated Costa.
The possibility of the construction, in São Paulo state, of tankers for use by Transpetro has also been discussed.
In total, Petrobras plans to invest US$ 54 billion, in Brazil and abroad, up to 2010. In 2004, the company investments totalled R$ 21 billion (US$ 7.96 billion, in current figures), and the forecast for this year is R$ 30 billion (US$ 11.38 billion).
Translated by Mark Ament
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency