Shell Venture, Dreyfus Said to Ship U.S. Ethanol to Brazil

Three companies, including a venture of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, are exporting U.S. ethanol to Brazil after a drought and freezing weather damaged crops, three people with knowledge of the shipment said.

The tanker Chemical Aquarius is scheduled to unload 6.41 million gallons (24.3 million liters) at the ports of Fortaleza and Suape starting next week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to comment publicly. The cargo was loaded at the Port of Houston and belongs to Raizen Energia SA, a Brazilian venture between Shell and Cosan SA Industria & Comercio, and Brazilian companies Total Combustiveis and Biosev SA, a Louis Dreyfus Holding BV unit, the people said.

Sao Paulo-based Biosev said in an e-mailed statement yesterday that it’s importing ethanol and said severe weather, including below-freezing temperatures last year in Mato Grosso do Sul state and a drought in Brazil’s northeast, prompted the company to seek supplies elsewhere to meet minimum inventories required by the country’s oil regulator.

Brazilian mills are required to hold stockpiles equal to 8 percent of 2013 sales as of March 31 to guarantee fuel supplies between December and March, when most mills close for maintenance.

A spokeswoman for Raizen who isn’t authorized to speak publicly declined to comment. An official for Recife-based Total Combustiveis who asked not to be identified because she isn’t authorized to speak publicly didn’t immediately return calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

Raizen and Biosev are Latin America’s largest sugarcane processors.