Petrobras, Ultra negotiate, seek JVs for $3 billion petrochemical complex

Peter Howard Wertheim
OGJ Correspondent

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 21-- Brazil's state-owned oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and Brazilian private petrochemical group Ultrapar Participações SA (Ultra) are negotiating the construction of what, if built, would be a $3 billion petrochemical complex, possibly at Itaguai, 80 km South from Rio de Janeiro.

"The project is still at an embryonic state and the location under evaluation," said Paulo Roberto Costa, Petrobras's director for supply, refining and sales.

The complex, which would produce 1.2 million tonnes/year of ethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene, would also include a 150,000 b/d refinery with "revolutionary technology" developed by Petrobras to process heavy oil from the Campos basin.

The proposed refinery would process mainly diesel and liquid petroleum gas plus raw materials such as propane and other aromatic derivatives for the petrochemical chain.

Petrobras, which would not have a majority stake in the project but might reach a 50% interest in some units, is mulling whether to accept Ultra's partnership proposal, said Costa.

Foreign groups also are welcome to join the project, said Petrobras chemical engineer Carmen de Sá Barreto, as some foreign know-how for enhancing the production of petrochemicals raw materials will be required.

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