Brazil Petrobras delays Comperj project to 2016-17

05 November 2010 18:56  [Source: ICIS news]

More delays for ComperjRIO DE JANEIRO (ICIS)--Petrobras has delayed the start-up of its Petrochemical Complex of Rio de Janeiro (Comperj) refinery and petrochemicals project to 2016-2017, an official at the Brazilian state-owned energy group said on Friday.

Luiz Fernando Leite, downstream petrochemical process manager for Comperj, blamed the global economic downturn and lower than expected resins demand for the delay. “Plastic resins demand is not as high as it was when the project was planned in 2005,” he told ICIS on the sidelines of the 2010 Petrochemical Seminar.

At the same time, the economic downturn meant that negotiations with partners for the downstream units took longer than expected, he added.

Delegates at the seminar agreed that it made sense for Petrobras to delay the project, located in Rio de Janeiro. “If the project started up between 2012 and 2014, as originally planned, that would be in the middle of the downturn,” said Robert Bauman, president of US-based Polymer Consulting International. “By 2017-2018 the industry should have recovered.”

Petrobras now plans to start up the steam cracker at the end of 2016, with the downstream units – for polyolefins, styrene and monoethylene glycol (MEG) – scheduled to start up at the beginning of 2017, Leite said.

Petrobras is also reconsidering the capacities of the downstream units, to reflect the change in market conditions. The cracker will have a capacity of 1.07m tonnes/year, Leite said, but the capacities of the downstream polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), styrene and MEG units have not yet been defined.

Petrobras intends to implement all the downstream projects with partners. Brazilian resins major Braskem, which is part-owned by Petrobras, will join the company in the polyolefins project.

Oxiteno, owned by Brazil’s Ultrapar, will join Petrobras in the MEG project, Leite said.

Petrobras is still seeking a partner for the Comperj styrene project. “Discussions are ongoing,” he said, without revealing further details.

The refinery part of the Comperj project is already underway. Leite said one 165,000 bbl/day refinery project is under construction, and Petrobras plans to build a second refinery of the same size. The refineries will use petrochemical fluidised catalytic cracking technology.

The one-day 2010 Petrochemical Seminar, organised by US-based Polyolefins Consulting, takes place ahead of the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting.

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By: Anna Jagger
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