Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva participated today, June 14, in the symbolic placing of the cornerstone of the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (COMPERJ), in Itaboraí, state of Rio de Janeiro.
The complex, which is Petrobras’ largest single project, will begin operations in 2012. Initially, it will process 150,000 thousand barrels of oil daily, according to information released by the Planalto Palace, the presidential office.
The project is expected to receive US$ 6.5 billion in investments and to generate more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase.
The president affirmed once again that Brazil is capable of becoming a great power in the energy field. "Brazil will be the country that produces the largest quantity of renewable energy on the planet Earth."
Lula compared Petrobras to Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho Gaúcho. According to the Brazilian president, the state oil company "is the son that everyone would love to have, a kind of Ronaldinho of the Brazilian industry."
Lula added, however, that Petrobras had to be "reeducated" to reach the present level of development. "Petrobras was told by I don’t know which government to care only for oil prospection."
It was his government, according to the president, that changed this policy. "Then Petrobras had only to be educated, had only to be reeducated. And we told Petrobras: ‘Dear Petrobras, think less about yourself and think a little more about this huge country," said Lula referring to the company’s program to invest in biodiesel.
In the next ten years Petrobras will invest around US$ 18 billion on the expansion of natural gas production in the Santos Basin, according to the president of the Brazilian government-run oil giant, José Sérgio Gabrielli.
"For this to occur, however, we will have to have ships available to locate various sounding rigs in the area. This is essential," Gabrielli emphasized, in a speech to entrepreneurs at the British Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BRITCHAM).
According to the executive, the company is assuming that daily production in the Santos Basin will increase 1.5 million cubic meters by 2008, when production in the region is expected to make a quantum leap.
Last week Petrobras announced that in two years it will increase daily natural gas supplies from domestic sources by 24.8 million cubic meters.
The gas will be extracted from fields in Espírito Santo (16.7 million cubic meters), Rio de Janeiro (6 million), and São Paulo (1.5 million). The country’s current production of natural gas amounts to around 15 million cubic meters daily. With the growth in extraction, the country will attain self-sufficiency in gas supplies.
According to Gabrielli, the new supplies will mainly be destined for the Southeast region. 70% of the gas currently consumed by states in the region, such as São Paulo, is imported from Bolivia, which earlier this month nationalized its reserves.