Petrobras to Invest $2.4 Billion in Biofuel Production

Petrobras plans to produce 169 million gallons of biodiesel by 2013, opening factories in the north and expanding others elsewhere in the country.

Brazil's state-run oil giant Petrobras announced on March 4 it will invest $2.4 billion in biofuel production over the next five years. Eighty percent of the money is to go towards producing ethanol, the gasoline substitute which Brazil derives on a big scale from processed sugracane, and 20% for biodiesel production, the company said.

Petrobras aims to be producing 640 million liters (169 million gallons) of biodiesel by 2013, opening factories in the north and expanding others elsewhere in the country.

It also is studying a joint biodiesel venture in Portugal, and plans to open a biodiesel plant in Africa.

The company started its commercial biodiesel production last July, in a plant in Brazil capable of pumping out 57 million liters (15 million gallons) per year.

Petrobras Biofuels, the division overseeing the activity, aims to produce annually 4.6 billion liters (1.2 billion gallons) of biofuels -- ethanol and biodiesel -- by 2012.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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