In March 2008, Petrobras broke ground on its new Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (COMPERJ), an approximately $8.4-billion project that marks the Brazilian company's return to the petrochemical sector. It is located in the city of Itaborai outside Rio de Janeiro.
The new petrochemical plant, which is slated to go online in 2013, will be capable of processing 150,000 barrels per day of heavy oil from the Marlim field in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil. Petrobras expects the facility to save more than $2 billion per year by reducing oil derivate and petrochemical product imports.
The new facility will feature a refining and first-generation unit (basic petrochemical unit [BPU]) that will produce the basic petrochemicals ethane, propane, benzene, paraxylene, and butadiene. A set of second-generation units called associated petrochemical units (APUs) will transform the basic products into the following petrochemical products: styrene, ethylene glycol, polyethylene, polypropylene, and PTA/PET. A third component of the project is a utilities plant that will provide the entire complex with water, steam, and electrical energy.
COMPERJ will feature the Petrochemical Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) process developed and patented by Petrobras' Research and Development Center (CENPES). Called a "major technological leap forward" by an in-house Petrobras magazine, Petrochemical FCC will make it feasible to produce basic petrochemical raw materials (propylene, ethylene, and aromatic oils ) directly from Marlin heavy crude oil. The effect of this will be twofold: the FCC will not have to maximize gasoline, diesel, and LPG production, nor will the facility need to produce petrochemical products only after producing and processing petrochemical naphtha.
In early 2010, Petrobras changed the scope of the project to include a 150,000-b/d refinery. Skanska AB will handle design, detailed engbineering, and construction of the refinery facilities.
The Shaw Group Inc. is providing its proprietary ethylene technology, basic engineering, and technical services for the facility's 1,000-KTA ethylene plant. In addition, Shaw will provide similar services for the Petrochemical FCC unit. Petrobras has awarded WorleyParsons an approximately $110-million services contract for integration and project management services, front-end engineering design (FEED) for utilities and offsites, and other technical services.