A dispute that lasted almost two years ended last January 14. The new refinery belonging to Petrobras, Brazilian oil giant, will be installed in the industrial and port complex in Suape, in the southern coast of the state of Pernambuco.
The US$ 2.5 billion investment was being fought over by 10 Brazilian states. Suape, however, showed infrastructure and logistics technical advantages in relation to the other competitors.
The refinery will be built with the participation of the state owned Venezuelan oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
The protocol for the Petrobras/PDVSA partnership was signed by the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, in Caracas, capital city of Venezuela.
The project foresees the installation of a refinery plant, with the capacity of processing 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of heavy oil.
Another 11 cooperation agreements were signed by the two oil companies, including the construction of a lubricants factory in Havana, capital of Cuba. For this there will be a third partner: the Cuban state owned company Cupete.
Another deal signed was for Brazil to supply ethanol to add to petrol to Venezuela. Currently, that country adds tetraethyl lead, an input far more pollutant than ethanol.
The choice for the Suape complex, in one of the most oriental points of Brazil, happened because of its proximity to the great consumer centers, such as the United States and Europe. The refinery in Pernambuco will process crude oil extracted in Brazil and Venezuela, transported through seaways.
According to Gilberto Prado, president of Renor, company set up to lead the undertaking, the construction will start in six to eight months. The plant, however, will only be ready to operate in 2010.
“A work group was formed, among the companies involved for the process to start quickly. The Brazilian government has committed to remove any bureaucratic obstacles,” he said.
Another state in the Northeast region of Brazil, Ceará, has been holding conversations with the Saudi multinational Saudi Aramco for the constructions of a refinery in the industrial hub of Pecém.
Aramco even registered at the Ministry of Mines and Energy in Brazil, a letter of intentions about the undertaking. The investment would be of US$ 3 billion.
Translated by Silvia Lindsey
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency