Albemarle, Petrobras to build HPC facility in Brazil

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 6 -- Albemarle Corp., Baton Rouge, and Brazil’s Petroleo Brazileiro SA (Petrobras) have signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a world-scale hydroprocessing catalyst (HPC) production plant in Santa Cruz, Brazil.

The new facility, to be constructed on the site of the two firms’ existing joint venture Fabrica Carioca de Catalisadores SA (FCC SA), will complement existing production of fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts.

The two firms said the new plant will be constructed ahead of “significant demand growth for hydroprocessing catalysts” as Brazil begins to implement more stringent specifications for ultralow-sulfur diesel and Petrobras begins to introduce new hydrotreaters to existing and new refineries.

Albemarle said it will provide FCC SA with its leading technology for the manufacture of HPC, enabling the production of STARS catalysts, which have enabled the broad implementation of the most stringent sulfur specifications in fuels in North America, western Europe, and Japan.

“The plant will be ideally placed to serve growing needs for HPC in South America,” the two firms said.

Petrobras and Albemarle said they also are enhancing their partnership by engaging into a joint technical cooperation aimed at the further development of advanced hydroprocessing catalysts.

In 2008, UOP LLC signed a technology cooperation agreement with Petrobras and Albemarle Corp. to demonstrate and further commercialize its catalytic crude upgrading (CCU) process technology (OGJ Newsletter, Oct. 13, 2008).

Last October, Albemarle said it completed the R&D laboratory facilities and begun construction on its Yeosu, South Korea manufacturing facility, which will begin intermediate commercial operations in mid-2011, with the commercial facility being fully operational in 2012.

Albemarle said the new site will produce finished catalysts, activators like methylaluminoxane (MAO) and metallocene components, as well as “High Purity Metal Organics for the HBLED market.”

Contact Eric Watkins at

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