White Martins, a subsidiary of Praxair, has started up the first natural gas liquefaction plant in Brazil.

The plant is also the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant to be built and operated by the company worldwide.

The plant will supply LNG to a joint venture, named GásLocal, between White Martins and Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company.

Located in Paulínia, in the State of São Paulo, the plant produces 14.5 million cubic feet (about 350 tons) per day of LNG, which is being distributed by truck to supply regions of Brazil not serviced by natural gas pipelines. Liquefaction and distribution of natural gas is similar to processes used with other gases, such as oxygen and nitrogen, which are already supplied by White Martins.

Further development in the natural gas market
Customers for LNG in Brazil include transportation companies, industrial customers and natural gas filling stations used by residential and commercial consumers. GásLocal already has a substantial volume of the plant's capacity under contract.

"We are looking forward to helping Petrobras expand Brazil's natural gas supply network, applying our expertise in gas production and distribution to further develop the natural gas market," said Domingos Bulus, president of White Martins.

White Martins has been participating in the production and commercialization of natural gas cylinders and conversion kits for vehicles for several years.

The joint venture is expected to expand access to LNG; reduce the need for imported liquefied petroleum gas and diesel fuel; generate new jobs; and create new uses for natural gas.