Petrobras lets contract for Route 3 lubricants plant

April 3, 2023

Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has let a contract to Chevron Lummus Global LLC (CLG)—a partnership of Chevron USA Inc. and Lummus Technology LLC—to deliver technology licensing for a new unit at the lubricants plant of the operator’s Polo GasLub Itaboraí hub under construction in Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as part of the operator’s Route 3 integrated project to expand transportation and processing of associated gas from the country’s offshore Santos basin presalt (OGJ, Nov. 7, 2022, p. 40).

Under the contract, CLG will license its proprietary Isodewaxing and Isofinishing technologies for a new 12,580-b/d hydroisodewaxing (HIDW) unit that—once completed— will produce a wide-viscosity range of premium API Group II/II+ lubricating base oil grades for the first time in both Brazil and South America, the service provider said on Apr. 3.

Alongside technology licensing, CLG said its scope of delivery on the project also includes basic design engineering and research unit testing services.

Addition of the HIDW unit at GasLub Itaboraí will help to minimize Brazil’s existing dependence on imported base oils as part of Petrobras' broader strategy to domestically produce higher-quality products to better serve the regional market.

This latest contract for GasLub Itaboraí project follows Petrobras’ recent award to TS Participações e Investimentos SA subsidiary Toyo Setal Empreendimentos Ltda. for completion of the Route 3 natural gas processing unit (UPGN) (OGJ Online, Mar. 27, 2023).

While details regarding official startup of the HIDW have yet to be disclosed, Petrobras said it expects start of gas processing operations in the GasLub Itaboraí to begin in 2024 in accordance with the operator’s 2023-27 strategic plan.

Part of Petrobras’ repositioning plan for its cancelled Comperj integrated refining project—renamed GasLub Itaboraí in 2020—the Route 3 combined gas pipeline-UPGN project’s integration with the previously completed Route 1 and Route 2 pipeline projects aims to increase the operator’s presalt gas offloading and processing capacity to 44 million cu m/day from 23 million cu m/day (OGJ Online, Dec. 23, 2019).

Alongside the new Route 3 UPGN—which will consist of two 10.5-million cu m/day processing trains—the Route 3 project includes a 355-km gas pipeline (307 km offshore, 48 km onshore) that will deliver about 18 million cu m/day of natural gas from the Santos basin presalt cluster to the UPGN at GasLub Itaboraí.

Petrobras previously confirmed it was evaluating integration of some units at GasLub Itaboraí with its 239,000-b/d Duque de Caxias (REDUC) refinery in the Baixada Fluminense area of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state for production of basic lubricants and fuels from intermediate products delivered via pipeline from the refinery to the Itaboraí gas hub.