Brazil's Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) has released a statement denying poor management is to blame for delays at the federal energy major's four oil refinery projects.
Earlier this week Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Foster said the Comperj petrochemical complex in Rio de Janeiro state and two refineries in Brazil's northeast had been postponed indefinitely.
The Abreu e Lima refinery in Pernambuco state was also pushed back a year with the first unit not scheduled to open until November 2014.
"Petrobras clarifies that the construction of new refineries meets strict and systematic project management guidelines," Petrobras said in a note published on its Fatos e Dados website.
"This is in line with the standards of the global oil industry. Problems that arise by chance are immediately overcome."
In its new business plan announced last week, Petrobras slashed investments in refineries to US$65.5bn, 27.7% less than the previous budget.
The move sparked concerns about the company's rising oil import bill, which reached US$958mn in the first quarter, a 7.72% increase on the same period 2011.
Petrobras did not specify reasons for the delays but said the refineries were vital to ensure Brazil's "autonomy and continued economic growth."
"If these units were not built, Petrobras would have to import 40% of its oil derivatives by 2020," the note said.
Last month Petrobras cancelled contracts with troubled constructor Delta for two testing laboratories at the Comperj facility.
The company said the contracts - worth a reported US$423mn - were rescinded due to Detla's "poor performance."
The first Comperj refinery - expected to produce up to 165,000b/d - was originally scheduled to begin operating in early 2014.
Other refineries to be postponed indefinitely were the Premium I facility in Maranhão state, initially expected to be ready in 2016, and Premium II in Ceará, which had been earmarked for a 2017 startup.
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(Originally published June 29, 2012, by Business News Americas.)