State-run Indian Oil Corp is planning to buy a sugar mill and set up a refinery in Brazil to produce ethanol, the Indian government said on Monday.
Indian oil firms view investments in Brazil for ethanol production as highly strategic, the country’s junior food, minister, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, told parliament in a written reply to a question.
Another Indian petroleum refiner, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, was working with Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. for investments in the country to produce ethanol, the minister said.
He told lawmakers India’s ethanol production was estimated at 2,730 million litres in the year to September 2008, down from 2,900 litres a year ago.
India, which imports 70 percent of the oil it consumes and heavily discounts fuel sales, asked oil firms to mix ethanol with petrol to 10 percent from October, when the new sugarcane crushing season began.
Before October, oil firms were mixing 5 percent ethanol, an alternative fuel made from cane or corn, with petrol almost nationwide. India has set an ambitious target of reaching 20-percent biofuel use within a decade.