RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones)
Brazilian state-run energy giant Petrobras (PBR) will have its new plans for the Comperj petrochemical refinery ready this week, the company's downstream director said Monday.
The new project will be forwarded to the board for approval at its next meeting, Paulo Roberto Costa told the local Estado news agency. Petrobras plans to change the scope of the Comperj petrochemicals complex to include fuel processing.
Petrobras now envisions a module that will be devoted to producing diesel oil from heavy oil produced in Brazil's prolific Campos Basin, where more than 85% of the country's crude is pumped.
"Despite the elevated volume of light oil found in the subsalt, at least 60% of our reserves are in heavy oil," Costa said.
Difficulties finding partners for the petrochemicals project forced Petrobras to consider the shift. Comperj was originally designed as an $8.5 billion petrochemicals plant.
The refinery was part of Petrobras's $174.4 billion five-year investment plan announced in January 2009, which included five new refineries to boost output. Comperj was expected to enter operation in 2012.
According to Petrobras, the Comperj refinery was the company's single largest undertaking. It was originally estimated to process 150,000 barrels a day of heavy oil from the Campos Basin, where Marlim is located. Petrochemicals output was to include polyethylene, polypropylene, PTA, PET, ethylene glycol and styrene.
The basic petrochemical unit was also expected to produce petroleum coke, sulfur, heavy naphtha and benzene, as well as diesel oil and petrochemicals feedstock.
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