Permits expected this week for Brazil's proposed Vibrapar refinery

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Dec 2 -- Brazil's proposed third privately owned small refinery is making headway toward construction after a year of delays, reported Business News Americas.

The Brazilian investment group Vibrapar said it expects to receive environmental permits this week from Pernambuco state environmental authority CPRH and from federal environmental authority Ibama for its planned $189 million refinery at the port city of Suape in northeastern Brazil. A spokesman for the group said obtaining a license from oil regulator ANP also is expected to be straightforward.

Vibrapar completed public meetings in mid-November.

Construction on the refinery is scheduled to begin in February or March 2004, with initial production of 5,000 b/d beginning by yearend 2004. Production is slated to ramp up to 30,000 b/d within a year of startup, possibly doubling that during the following 5-6 years as demand warrants, BNA reported.

Vibrapar's Marco Aurelio Pereira said initial production of LPG, fuel oil, diesel, gasoline, solvents, and kerosene would serve the Pernambuco market and later other areas of Brazil's northeast. Consumption in Pernambuco state currently is 83,000 b/d and is growing by 4 %/year. Markets in northeastern Brazil consume 550,000 b/d—about 25% of the country's total consumption—yet it has only 17 % of installed refining capacity.

US and Australian suppliers have provided the main equipment for the plant and will provide technical support during plant assembly, BNA reported.

Because Brazil's crude is heavy, the refinery probably will import light crude from West Africa or the Middle East, and blend it in a 60-80% light crude blend, he said.

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