BNDES Approves US$7mn Loan to Drill Bit Lubricant Supplier

Brazil's national development bank BNDES approved a 15.8mn-real (US$7mn) loan to biotechnology firm Policam to build a plant to supply the oil industry with biopolymers to be used as lubricants for drill bits, the bank said in a statement.

Policam will invest another 12.9mn reais in the plant scheduled to start production at the end of the year.

Policam will use Brazilian developed and patented technology that uses sugar to produce the biopolymer fermented by bacteria known as xanthomonas campestris.

The biopolymer, known as xanthan gum, can also be used in recovering oil from mature oil fields, the bank said.

Policam's largest client will be federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), which currently imports xanthan gum made from corn glucose, the bank said.

Policam's plant will be strategically located in the town of Campos in the state of Rio de Janeiro, the country's oil industry hub. The region is also a traditional sugar cane plantation region, the bank said.

The plant will initially have capacity to produce 2,000 tons a year of the biopolymer.

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