Petrobras to ship 9 mln liters ethanol to Europe

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Brazil's state energy company Petrobras PETR4.SAPBR.N said on Wednesday it will ship 9 million liters of ethanol to European clients next month in its first shipment via the northeastern port of Suape.

Petrobras, which does not produce the sugar cane-based fuel, but seeks to become a major exporter and reseller in the next few years, said it would buy the biofuel from a pool of sugar cane processing plants in the state of Pernambuco, where the port is also located.

The company did not name the European clients nor said what specific countries they were from.

Petrobras had been hoping to export up to 1 billion liters of ethanol this year, but infrastructure problems in Nigeria and Venezuela’s decision to use MTBE fuel additive in its gasoline blend instead of ethanol previously imported from Brazil, frustrated its plans.

Petrobras has focused its efforts to boost exports on Japan, where it hopes to sell 3.5 billion liters a year by 2010, but the European Union has also long been in its sights despite restrictions on ethanol imports there.