DANBURY, Conn., February 17, 2004 — White Martins, a wholly owned subsidiary of Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX), and Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, announced in Rio de Janiero yesterday that they would form a joint venture for the commercialization and distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The venture will supply LNG to Brazilian locations that are not currently supplied by pipelines.
The two companies said there would be an initial investment of $38 million for the construction of the first liquefied natural gas plant in Brazil, to be located in Paulinia, Sao Paulo state. The plant, to be built by White Martins, will produce 14.5 million cubic feet per day of liquified natural gas to supply transportation companies, industrial customers and natural gas filling stations. It is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2005.
The joint venture will provide a number of benefits including expanding access to the liquified natural gas at prices that are competitive to other fuels; reducing the need for imported liquefied petroleum gas (PLG) and diesel fuel; generating new jobs; and creating new uses for the natural gas. White Martins will have a 60 percent interest in the distribution venture and Petrobras the remaining 40 percent.
Natural gas is liquified utilizing a cryogenic process. After it is liquefied, the LNG is then stored and distributed in tank trucks. Its distribution requires the same kind of logistics that are currently provided by White Martins when delivering other industrial gases like oxygen and nitrogen.
For Petrobras, the new business represents another supply mode for natural gas, which will help expand its use.
Domingos Bulus, president of White Martins, said: “This is an extension of White Martin’s core industrial gases business, into the natural gas industry, in which it already participates with the production and commercialization of natural gas cylinders and conversion kits for vehicles.”
Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2003 sales of $5.6 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others. More information on Praxair is available on the Internet at www.praxair.com.