Petrobras inks deal to shed Japanese downstream assets

Brazil's state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has found a buyer for its Japanese refining business, which includes subsidiary Nansei Sekiyu KK’s 100,000-b/d Nishihara refinery on Japan’s southwestern island of Okinawa.

Petrobras’ board of directors approved the sale of its Rotterdam-based subsidiary Petrobras International Braspetro BV’s 100% interest in Nansei Seikyu to Taiyo Oil Co. Ltd., Tokyo, for about $129.3 million, Petrobras said.

Alongside both the currently idled Nishihara refinery and monobuoy at the site, Nansei Seikyu’s Okinawa terminal operations include 36 tanks with a combined crude oil and finished product storage capacity of 9.5 million bbl, as well as three piers for loading and unloading of vessels.

Pending customary conditions and regulatory approvals, the transaction is scheduled to close in December, according to the operator.

The deal follows Petrobras’ previous announcement of its intention to exit the Japanese downstream sector as part of a broader divestment plan in line with the company’s overall financial and strategic goals of reducing leverage, preserving cash, and focusing on priority investments that mainly involve oil and gas production in Brazil in areas of high productivity and return (OGJ Online, Apr. 2, 2015).

Executed in conjunction with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Petrobras’ year-long exit plan involved termination of processing activities at the Nishihara refinery but ongoing operation the refinery’s associated marine terminal to ensure adequate fuel supplies to Okinawa during the withdrawal process.

Taiyo’s plans

In announcing the proposed purchase, Taiyo said that it would continue to operate the Nansei Sekiyu oil terminal as part of a strategy to generate future synergies with the company’s existing oil business.

The company, however, offered no details regarding its future plans for the idled Nansei Sekiyu refinery.

In addition to its 118,000-b/d Shikoku refinery at Kikuma—now part of Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, Japan—Taiyo operates a 397,000-tonnes/year ethyl benzene unit and 370,000-tpy styrene monomer unit at its Yamaguchi manufacturing site at Ube City, in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture, as well as eight crude oil and product terminals across the country.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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