Average production of oil and natural gas was up again in March, reaching 2,101,478 barrels of oil-equivalent per day, in Brazil and abroad.
According to Petrobras’ press-service, the result indicates an increase of 4.1% when compared to March of 2004, and of 2.7% when compared to February/2005. On April 6th, Brazil reached a record-breaking daily production of 1,720,096 barrels.
When only Brazilian fields are taken into account, oil and gas production reached 1,837,689 barrels per day – 2.9% higher than that of February and 5% superior to March of last year.
In the eight countries where Petrobras has active units, production was 263,789 barrels/day – 1.2% higher than February’s. The result is mainly due to production increase in Bolivia. When compared to March of 2004, production was down 1.4%.
The production of natural gas in March also rose to 42,421 million of cubic meters per day, 1.7% higher than February’s.
Although Brazil is a big petroleum producer, it still has to import diesel for the country’s trucks and buses. But the addition of a biodiesel mixture can reduce that dependence, says Sergio Dialetachi, who works for Greenpeace. It is also a clean fuel of the future, he adds.
“By adding a 2% mixture of vegetable oils to diesel fuel, Brazil can reverse that situation. The country already produces enough gasoline, naphtha and kerosene to meet domestic demand. The problem is diesel that fuels an enormous fleet of trucks and buses and has to be imported.” explains Dialetachi.
Brazil’s state-run oil giant, Petrobras, has developed technology to produce biodiesel cheaply and efficiently using castor-oil plant which grow easily throughout the country. Biodiesel can also be obtained from soybeans and sunflowers.
A survey in 2002 by the Ministry of Mines and Energy found that 52.4% of transportation fuel used in Brazil was diesel (compared to 25.6% for gasoline and 11.9% for the country’s ethanol fuel made from sugarcane).
As a result, Brazil imports 6 billion liters of diesel annually, 15% of its needs, at a cost of US$ 1.2 billion each year. The addition of the 2% vegetable oil mixture would economize some 800 million liters annually.