Petrobras and Nippon Alcohol Hanbai signed a contract, Monday, December 20, creating the Brazil-Japan Ethanol company, which will operate in Japan with the objective of importing and commercializing some 20 million liters of sugarcane-based ethanol made in Brazil by the year 2008.
Petrobras says it will use the association with Nippon to seek solutions to technical problems in introducing ethanol in Japan, "one of the world’s biggest and most complex markets."
Petrobras sees the endeavor as part of its international expansion efforts and believes its presence in Japan will open the door to other markets.
A concrete result of the Brazil-Cental American and Caribbean Integration System (Sica) summit in Guatemala, in September, was interest in Brazil’s sugarcane-based ethanol fuel and cars that can use more than one type of fuel (gasoline, ethanol and natural gas) according to Mario Vilalva, director of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry’s Commercial Promotion Department.
He informed that Brazil and Sica have found that there is a convergence of needs and resources that can be exploited for the mutual benefit of all.
"Central America and the Caribbean are producers of sugar who are being crushed by high petroleum prices. They are interested in alleviating this situation through a program similar to what Brazil has – make ethanol fuel from sugar," says Vilalva, adding that Brazil can transfer ethanol technology, export plants and even ethanol fuel.
At the same time the region is interested in hybrid cars (flex fuel, as they are called in Brazil). There will be an immediate demand for these cars, says Vilalva.
"Honduras is ready to begin importing right now," he says. And as the region does not manufacture vehicles, it is just a question of reaching an import agreement, reports Vilalva.