Petrobras to present 5-year strategic plan

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 -- Brazil's Petroleo Brasilerio SA (Petrobras), pending approval of its board, will present its latest 5-year strategic plan to investors and analysts on Jan. 26, the company said.

Petrobras e-mailed analysts and investors invitations for the presentation of the company's 2008-12 strategic plan "in case the plan is approved by the company's board of directors."

Petrobras has repeatedly delayed the announcement of its investment plans—which are usually announced in September—amid the global financial crisis and its impact on oil prices (OGJ Online, Jan. 19, 2009).

Comperj project on track
Meanwhile, Petrobras's downstream director Paulo Roberto Costa, reversing earlier concerns, said the firm's $8.5 billion planned investment in the Rio de Janeiro petrochemical complex, known as Comperj, will be maintained in the strategic plan.

The Comperj project, one of several energy projects included in Petrobras's earlier strategic plans, is part of Brazil's Program for Accelerated Growth (PAC), an economic expansion program outlined by the country's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (OGJ, June 11, 2007, p. 31).

In 2007, Petrobras selected WorleyParsons to perform integration and project management services, execute front-end engineering design for utilities and offsites, and provide other technical services for the Comperj project.

In November 2008, however, as a result of the mounting global financial crisis, the facility was reported to be facing "major obstacles" in the country, with Petrobas having difficulty finding partners for the project.

According to one analyst, the scenario of a Brazilian gross domestic product growth of roughly 5% and very robust demand, which were included in the original financial model of the Comperj project, was rendered uncertain due to declining commodity prices.

Shaw Group wins commission
Despite those concerns, however, Petrobras commissioned Shaw Group Inc.'s energy and chemicals group in November 2008 to supply its proprietary ethylene technology for its ethylene facility at the Comperj project.

Under the contract, Shaw will also provide conversion furnace equipment, basic engineering, and technical services. Shaw will provide the same services to the recovery section of a petrochemical fluidized catalytic cracking plant.

Construction on the 150,000 b/d refinery began in late March 2008 and the facility, which will include first and second-generation plants, is due to come online in 2012.

The facility's first generation units are expected to manufacture 1.3 million tonnes/year (tpy) of ethane, 880,000 tpy of propane, 600,000 tpy of benzene, 700,000 tpy of paraxylene, and 157,000 tpy of butadiene.

Its second generation units will produce 500,000 tpy of styrene, 600,000 tpy of glycol, 800,000 tpy of polyethylene, 850,000 tpy of polypropylene, 500,000 tpy of purified terephthalic acid, and 600,000 tpy of polyethylene terephthalate.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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