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After Selling Venezuela 380 Million Liters of Ethanol Brazil Goes After the US

Brazilian oil company Petrobras should close, up to the end of the month of October, a sales contract for 380 million liters of ethanol a year to Venezuela – the equivalent to approximately 30 million liters a month.

According to the Supply director at Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa, the agreement is already at its final negotiation phase and should be valid for two to three years.

"This year we have already shipped to Venezuela three times, totaling approximately 60,000 cubic meters (the equivalent to 60 million liters) of alcohol. The perspective is to double this volume up to the end of the year," said Costa.

The Petrobras executive made his statement Thursday, September 21, after a talk by the organization’s president, José Sergio Gabrielli, to around 500 executives connected to the Petroleum Club, in Houston, Texas. At the occasion, Gabrielli was declared Honorary Citizen of Houston.

Costa stated that currently Petrobras’ priority is to export ethanol to the Venezuelan and Nigerian markets (to where shipments have already totaled 20 million liters), but he pointed out that the company has already started negotiating the sale of alcohol to the United States, a market that has a potential of six billion liters.

"We are still negotiating. It is a gigantic market, but we don’t yet have a forecast for a closing date or volume," stated Costa.

Apart from that, he added, Petrobras is finalizing understandings to sell large volumes of alcohol to the Japanese market, where the company also has plans to open a refinery for the processing of heavy oil.

In the talk given by Gabrielli, the company’s Business Plan for the period from between 2007 and 2011 was presented. He discussed the state owned oil company’s main activities in Brazil and abroad and gave details of the US$ 87.1 billion in investment for the period – of which US$ 2.7 billion for expansion of exploration, production and refining activities in the United States.

Gabrielli stated to Brazilian journalists that Petrobras plans to put on the North American market the renewable fuels that Brazil produces. He explained that for this purpose the company should work on a series or regulatory limitations imposed by the government of the United States as protection to renewable fuels.

"If these barriers are changed, our perspectives of placing the product on that market may be expanded. There are various American groups seeking Brazilian partners in the sector, among them Petrobras, and we are investing in infrastructure for exports of alcohol from Brazil," finished off Gabrielli.

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