RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones)
Brazilian state-run energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, is considering a change in its Comperj refinery project to focus on heavy oil processing rather than petrochemicals, local business daily Valor Economico reported Wednesday.
Comperj would be constructed as a so-called "premium" fuels refinery that would process 300,000 barrels of oil daily, the newspaper said. The primary raw material would be heavy oil from the prolific Marlim field.
"We are evaluating the current scenario to make the project more competitive," Valor quoted Petrobras downstream director Paulo Roberto Costa as saying.
Petrobras was not immediately available to comment on the report when contacted by Dow Jones Newswires.
Difficulties finding partners for the petrochemicals project forced Petrobras to consider the shift in focus, Valor said. The refinery was originally designed as an $8.5 billion petrochemicals plant.
The refinery was part of Petrobras' $174.4 billion five-year investment plan announced in January 2009, which included five new refineries to boost output. Comperj was expected to start operations in 2012.
Petrobras has said the Comperj refinery was the company's single largest undertaking. It was originally planned 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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