Energy giant Petrobras seeks Israeli cleantech

Petrobras is mulling setting up an R&D center in Israel.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that that Brazilian energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) (NYSE: PZE; Bovespa: PETR) is examining Israeli cleantech for possible investment. Petrobras is the world’s fifth largest oil refiner. The sources added that the company will invest $112 billion in technology companies worldwide under its five-year plan. The bulk of this investment will go to renewable energy technologies, including $15 billion for biofuel.

For the sake of comparison, six months ago, China announced that it would invest $500 billion in water technologies over the next five years.

Petrobras executives are attending International Water Technologies and Environmental Control Exhibition and Conference - Watec 2007 in Tel Aviv. The company is investing in cleantech with the understanding that that is where the world is heading. Other oil companies, such as BP plc (NYSE; LSE:BP), are doing the same.

Petrobras executives have met with a number of Israeli entrepreneurs and academics developing technologies of interest to the company. The Brazilians have shown interest in ideas for the breakdown of enzymes, which would serve as an organic replacement of chemical catalysts in oil refining. The company is interested in research by PPSV Ltd., and research at the Weizmann Institute of Science and Technion Israel Institute of Technology. Petrobras is considering establishing a group of researchers to focus on this field.

Petrobras is also interested in renewable energy, and has met several Israeli companies in this field, including Ormat Industries Ltd. (TASE: ORMT), Evogene Ltd. (TASE:EVGN), Plastro Irrigation Systems Ltd. (TASE: PLSTR), BioDalia Microbiological Technologies Ltd., and Galten Inc.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Petrobras is mulling setting up an R&D center in Israel.

Petrobras is active in 27 countries. It has a market cap of $198 billion.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on November 1, 2007

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007

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