RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday at the ceremony inaugurating the second natural gas pipeline into the state of Minas Gerais that the work guarantees the establishment of new industries there.
The president specifically cited the ammonia factory that state oil giant Petrobras is planning to build in Uberaba, Minas Gerais, and with which Brazil intends to eliminate its dependence on imported fertilizers.
“We need to begin working so that industries begin to establish themselves here and use the gas that will pass through this gas pipeline,” the president said.
Lula said that the first to benefit from the project will be the ceramics factories, the steel factories of Minas Gerais and electric plants.
“Those who will gain most are the steel mills because, with the ovens heated with gas, the quality of the steel improves,” he said.
“We’re giving Minas Gerais the extraordinary opportunity to take advantage of an energy source that can increase its wealth even more,” he added.
Lula said the state will need another gas pipeline about 200 kilometers (124 miles) long to transport the gas to Uberaba, where the Petrobras ammonia plant will be built.
Petrobras already had announced its intention to build a fertilizer factory in Minas Gerais, but that would depend on reaching an agreement with Cemig, a regional energy distributor, to build a gas pipeline to Uberaba.
Lula said that the factory will create a revolutionary new situation given that Brazil currently imports 80 percent of the fertilizers it uses and local production will not only reduce costs but also improve the quality of the country’s agriculture.
The new gas pipeline more than doubles, to 8 million cubic meters per day, the ability to transport natural gas to Minas Gerais, Brazil’s second-largest state by population.
The new conduit runs for 267 kilometers (166 miles) and cost 1.28 billion reais ($711 million), according to Petrobras. EFE