Ethanol Consumption Overtakes Gasoline in Brazil

Production of ethanol in Brazil The Brazilian Statistical Directory of Petroleum and Natural Gas, published on the website of Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP), confirms growth of 51.4% in consumption of hydrated alcohol in the country. Sales of hydrated alcohol, which is used as fuel, rose from 6.1 million cubic meters consumed in 2006, to 9.3 million cubic meters, in 2007.

In the month of April, the ANP disclosed that consumption of alcohol  -  including the anhydrous variety, which is mixed into gasoline, and the hydrated one  -  in February overtook that of gasoline for the first time in 20 years.

Consumption of anhydrous and hydrated alcohol reached 1.432 billion liters in the month, whereas gasoline consumption totaled 1.411 billion liters.

Now, the directory brings the results for the entire year of 2007, compared with the performance in 2006. The leading producer region was the Southeast, which answered to 6.57 million cubic meters in 2007, a result 50% greater than that of 2006.

Next came the South region, with production of 1.16 million cubic meters, growth of 33.42% over 2006. The North and Midwest regions recorded the highest production growth rates. The North region produced 96.68% more in 2007, and the Midwest, 74.59%.

ANP's publication points out that oil reserves grew 3.6%, leading the country to move up two places in the global ranking of oil producing countries, to reach the 15th position in 2007. National production of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) totaled 1.8 million barrels a day, attaining a surplus result in international trade of oil derivatives.

Natural gas reserves, in turn, saw a 4.9% increase, ending 2007 at 365 billion cubic meters, whereas production varied 2.6% in comparison with 2006, totaling 49.7 billion cubic meters.

Castor Oil

In the current crop, Brazil is going to harvest 146,000 tons of castor oil plant, representing growth of 55.8% compared with the last crop. According to the National Food Supply Company (Conab), the expansion of production was driven by greater use of castor oil in several products, including manufacturing of fluid for aircraft and rockets.

The compound prevents the fuel from freezing when submitted to low temperatures at high altitudes. Castor seeds are also used for manufacturing contact lenses, lipstick, foam for mattresses, paint, and fertilizers.

The plant is resistant to dry weather, which makes it an option for farmers in the Brazilian semiarid region, located in the northeast of the country. The Northeast currently answers to 93% of national castor oil plant production.

In this crop, planted area grew 7.3% and productivity saw an increase of 45.3%, compared with the previous crop. Productivity totals 875 kilograms per hectare, whereas ten years ago it totaled 142 kilograms.

National farmers earn 74 reais (US$ 46.50) for a 60-kilogram bag of castor bean. In the first half this year, the country posted revenues of US$ 6.18 million from exports of 3,416 tons of oils derived from the plant. At the Rotterdam stock exchange, in Holland, where the oil is traded, average price is currently US$ 1,568 per ton.

Honda

Moto Honda Amazon, a subsidiary of the Japanese assembly company installed in Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas (North), announced that it achieved record high sales in the first quarter of 2008. According to the company, 718,421 motorcycles manufactured in Brazil were sold, growth of 18.9% in comparison with the same period last year.

With regard to imported motorcycles, 2,475 units were sold in the first six months of the year, growth of 178.7% over the same period of 2007, also according to the company.

In terms of production, a total of 819,645 motorcycles left the factory in the first half, growth of 22.6% compared with the period from January to June last year.

ABr

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