Petrobras sets up natural gas joint venture

Brazil’s state-run oil giant Petrobras has announced the signing of a deal with local industrial group White Martins to form a natural gas company. Petrobras said it would have a 40 percent stake in the new company, to be based in Sao Paulo state. White Martins, a subsidiary of US gas firm Praxair Inc., will have a controlling 60 percent stake in the venture. Under the terms of the deal, White Martins will be responsible for building the new factory, scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2005. Petrobras, which discovered massive reserves of natural gas off the coast of Sao Paulo last year, will supply the gas. The factory is expected to cost USD 38 million to build and will have the capacity to liquefy 380,000 cubic meters of natural gas per day. It will seek to serve industrial clients in the states of Sao Paulo, Parana, Goias and Brasilia – all areas without access to gas pipelines. Petrobras estimates that the consumption of natural gas in Brazil could reach 100 million cubic meters per day by 2010, up from 27 million cubic meters per day at present.

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