Petrobras expands international ventures

By | March 01, 2006
Petrobras, a Brazilian international energy company, has signed three share purchase agreements for the acquisitions of Shell's fuel businesses in three South American countries. The purchase of these retail and commercial fuel businesses will cost Petrobras approximately US$140 million. All acquisitions in these countries are subject to relevant government approvals.

Petrobras will take control of 38 service stations in Bogotá, Colombia, along with a blending plant and a product terminal in Santa Marta, Colombia. In Paraguay, the company will take over the operations of 134 service stations—52 with convenience stores—throughout the country. A total of 89 service stations will be turned over to Petrobras in Uruguay.

Petrobras also announced that its subsidiary, Petrobras International Braspetro BV, will be incorporating Brazil-Japan Ethanol Co. Ltd. in Japan. Brazil-Japan Ethanol's main purpose will be to import and distribute Brazilian-produced ethanol. The company will also be in charge of identifying technical and commercial solutions for inserting ethanol into the Japanese market. Petrobras hopes that Brazil-Japan Ethanol will help the company break into the complex Japanese fuel market and provide additional options for consumers. The incorporation of Brazil-Japan Ethanol was enacted from Petrobras Strategic Plan 2005-2015, in which the company plans to expand its current international business.

With the help of companies like Petrobras, the Brazilian government has predicted that it will achieve its long-sought goal of oil self-sufficiency this year and become a net exporter of oil, according to its Web site. The milestone was reached through years of pushing to find oil within Brazil's borders and government efforts to keep oil consumption low by encouraging the use of alternatives such as ethanol. The government has promoted the use of ethanol since the global oil shortages of the 1970s, with the public's embrace of the alternative fuel rising and falling with oil prices.