Petrobras to resume work at Rnest, Comperj refinery projects

Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s board of directors has approved plans to resume construction activities at two of the company’s Brazilian refineries after previously delaying ongoing development at the sites following a series of financial troubles and government investigations that began in late 2014.

The board greenlighted plans to restart work activities at the Abreu e Lima refinery (Rnest) near Recife in Brazil’s Pernambuco state, and at the Rio de Janeiro petrochemical complex (Comperj) in Itaboraí, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, at a July 22 meeting, Petrobras said in a series of releases.

At the Rnest refinery, the approvals will enable continuation of procurement activities to complete the sulfur emissions reduction (SNOx) unit as well as other unidentified construction work related to the refinery’s first 115,000-b/d phase, which following startup in December 2014 (OGJ Online, Dec. 5, 2014), currently processes 100,000 b/d of crude, the company said.

After completion, the SNOx unit—the first of two Haldor Topsoe AS’s proprietary SNOx plants to be installed at Rnest—will be able to treat up to 650,000 cu m of flue gas and produce as much as 750,000 tonnes/day of sulfuric acid (OGJ Online, Mar. 13, 2015).

The unit is due for startup sometime in 2017, according to Petrobras’ latest annual report.

Petrobras plans to reach a final investment decision regarding the best strategy for implementing Rnest’s second 115,000-b/d phase as part of its forthcoming business and management plan, which will be underpinned by integrated analysis of the company’s current project portfolio and in line with market projections, as well as funding limits.

Comperj project

Petrobras’s board also has approved work to resume activities related to implementation of associated units for a natural gas processing unit to be built as part of the long-planned and still-delayed Comperj project (OGJ Online, June 4, 2007), the company said.

Part of the company’s Route 3 integrated project, Comperj’s gas processing unit will join Gas Pipeline Route 3, a supplementary gas treatment plant at Cabiúnas terminal, and the Route 3 Northern Pipeline segment to form the infrastructure needed to transport and process natural gas supplies from the Santos basin presalt offshore Brazil.

Despite advancing work on Comperj’s gas processing unit, the board delayed further FIDs for other units of the refining complex’s Phase-1 development until December 2020, calling for continued efforts by the company to seek investment partners for the project.

Projects involving a future Phase 2 of refining at Comperj as well as a proposed lubricant unit at site have been cancelled completely, Petrobras said.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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