Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Co. (MIC) subsidiary Mubadala Capital (MC) to explore potential investment in a biorefinery project currently under development at MIC-owned Refinaria de Mataripe SA’s (REFMAT) 300,000-b/d refinery in the Recôncavo Baiano region of Bahia, Brazil.
Under the Sept. 4 MoU, Petrobras and MIC Capital Partners have agreed to develop studies covering future business in the downstream segment, including evaluating Petrobras' participation in an integrated biorefining project at REFMAT that would produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from a feedstock of macaúba palm, a native Brazilian crop, Petrobras and MC said in separate releases.
The MoU comes as part of a shared commitment by Petrobras and MC to the global energy transition, the companies said.
Aligned with elements of Petrobras’ 2024-28 Strategic Plan aimed at preparing for a more sustainable future, potential investment opportunities in the proposed biorefining project would help further diversify the company’s current portfolio in a way that supports the corporate goal of becoming emissions neutral by 2050, according to Jean Paul Prates, Petrobras’ chief executive officer.
Alongside production of renewable energy from agricultural crops native to Brazil, the planned biorefinery would result in novel, carbon neutral, products that would accelerate the country’s transition into a sustainable future, said Oscar Fahlgren, MC’s chief investment officer and head of its Brazilian business.
While neither Petrobras nor MC immediately disclosed further details of the proposed development plan, MC confirmed the MoU follows an agreement signed in April 2023 between the state of Bahia and Acelen, a company MC created expressly to operate the Matripe refinery after acquiring the site and related assets from Petrobras in late 2021 (OGJ Online, Dec. 1, 2021).
In a project description posted to its website on Apr. 20, Acelen said its MoU with the government of Bahia provides for a large investment over the next 10 years for the production of renewable diesel and SAF at Matripe to help place Bahia and Brazil among the largest global producers of renewable fuels.
Following signing of the April 2023 MoU, Acelen said it next planned to partner with relevant public authorities to define working groups to guarantee the environmental, technical, fiscal, and tax viability of the proposed project to ensure its competitiveness.
Acelen estimated overall investment required to complete the planned Matripe biorefinery at about 12 billion Brazilian real (US$2.4 billion).
Final investment decision on the biorefining project is scheduled to take place by yearend, according to Acelen.