Brazilian miner Vale, oil major Petrobras to unveil joint projects next month

By DIANA KINCH

NOVA LIMA -- Brazilian mining company Vale SA and oil and gas company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, will announce joint projects in a month's time, a Vale director said Wednesday.

The announcement should involve joint businesses rather than development of technologies, Luiz Mello, Vale's director of technology, said in an interview during an event on innovation in Brazil's Minas Gerais state.

Vale and Petrobras, Brazil's biggest companies by market value, last Friday signed an accord to undertake joint projects in areas including fertilizer raw materials and oil and gas.

On Tuesday, Vale human resources director Vania Somavilla said the accord could include collaboration in the rare earths minerals area in Brazil.

According to press reports Tuesday, Petrobras may give Vale preference in natural gas supplies in return for the right to use some of Vale's port facilities in Brazil. Mello didn't immediately confirm this.

Vale's own oil and gas interests are currently "under review", Mello said. "Energy should be a support area for Vale rather than a business in its own right," he said.

Vale is nonetheless investing in wind power and biodiesel in Brazil in order to supply some of its own energy requirement, he said.

"Vale consumes 4.5% of all the energy generated in Brazil. We need a hedge in energy," Mello said.

Vale and Petrobras are collaborating on a scheme of scholarships for training scientists, together with the Brazilian bankers' federation Febraban and National Industry Confederation CNI, he added.


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