* Pipeline system to reduce use of trucks for transport
* Investment seen at $3.6 billion
RIO DE JANEIRO, March 1 (Reuters) - A Brazilian ethanol pipeline system will lower transport costs by 20 percent for producers when it begins operations in 2012, the firm leading the project said on Tuesday.
The newly formed logistics company, Logum, expects the 1,300 kilometer (808 mile) pipeline system to bring savings by reducing higher-cost transport by truck which is now the predominant form of delivering fuel to consumers from production centers.
“It will provide additional benefits of less pollution and less wear and tear on roads from so many trucks,” said Logum President Alberto Guimaraes.
The cost savings could rise to 50 percent within the next 10 years, he said, as future ethanol output is expected to come from areas further from ports and consumption centers.
Petrobras last year began construction of the first section of the pipeline system, which is also meant to help Brazil boost the international competitiveness of its ethanol.
Brazil is the world’s largest cane-based ethanol producer and one of the lowest-cost producers, but infrastructure problems have hampered its export efforts.
Logum is a joint venture that includes Brazilian state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA), sugar and ethanol giant Cosan CSAN3.SA, and logistics firm Odebrecht Transport Participacoes, among others.
The system, which will require investment of 6 billion reais ($3.6 billion), is slated to reach a maximum capacity of 21 million cubic meters per year.
$1=1.66 reais Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; editing by Jim Marshall