Refineries: priority investment in the offshore sector

Refining, the bridge between production and distribution, plays a strategic role in the sustainability of Brazilian self-sufficiency in oil derivates. Petrobras' goal of processing most of the national oil by expanding its refining park, optimizing its employment, redoubling care with safety and environment and producing derivatives of international standard, makes the refining park a priority in the bulk of Petrobras investments.

With an eye on the expansion of the refining park, an area considered strategic in the oil industry aggregate value chain, Petrobras has already announced: it will maintain its new refinery delivery schedules, thereby enlarging the refining capacity in Brazil. Petrobras Business Plan 2009-2013 foresees investments in the order of US$ 174.4 billion by 2013, of which U.S. $ 47.8 billion will be invested in the supply area. This is the second largest investment sector of the Brazilian state company, losing only to the area of Exploration & Production (U.S. $ 104.6 billion).

The supply area comprises the activities of refining, transportation, marketing, petrochemicals and fertilizers. Keeping the commitment to sustainable development, Petrobras 2009-2013 BP aims to the expansion of operations in the target markets for oil, derivatives, petrochemicals, gas and energy, biofuels and distribution, being a world reference as an integrated energy company.

The company foresees investments in the building of refineries Abreu e Lima (Pernambuco), Clara Camarão (Rio Grande do Norte), Premium I (Maranhão) and Premium II (Ceará), Petrochemical Complex of Rio de Janeiro (COMPERJ) and Petrochemical Complex of SUAPE (Pernambuco) and a new unit of nitrogenated fertilizers.

Works for conversion and product quality in the existing refineries, with emphasis on the goals of producing gasoline and diesel with lower sulfur content, are also foreseen, as well as investments in pipelines and terminals.

Petrobras’ goal, according to the company's director of Supply, Paulo Roberto Costa, is to expand the refining capacity in Brazil, maintaining the balance with the production of oil. Abreu e Lima refinery will have processing capacity of 230 thousand barrels per day. Comperj, 150 thousand barrels per day. Premium I Refinery in Maranhao, 600 thousand barrels per day.

Premium II, in Ceará, 300 thousand. And the refinery of Rio Grande do Norte, 30 thousand bpd. The company plan envisages the deployment of the third factory of fertilizers, the production capacity of one million tones per year.

The load of processed oil will probably grow from the current 1.791 million barrels to 2.270 million in 2013 and 3.012 million in 2020, with an average annual increase of 4.8%.  In 2010 it is forecast the start of the refinery Clara Camarão, in 2011 Abreu e Lima, in 2012 Comperj in 2013 the first stages of Premium refineries.

The Plan provides for annual growth of 3% for the derivatives on the domestic market, going up from 1.945 million barrels daily in 2008 to 2.257 million daily in 2013 and 2.876 million per day in 2020. The derivate of higher consumption will still be diesel, which should rise from current 783 thousand barrels per day to 901 thousand barrels per day in 2013 and 1.224 million barrels daily in 2020.

Refining Park: non-stop growth

Since Mataripe (the first Brazilian refinery, currently refinery Landulpho Alves - BA) in the mid 50's, up to the present day, the Brazilian refining park has always been growing, absorbing large contracts. Since then, Petrobras already has 11 processing units in Brazil and four abroad. Not to mention the only two private refineries in the country - Manguinhos, in Rio de Janeiro, which handles 15 thousand barrels of oil daily, and Ipiranga, in Rio Grande do Sul

However, besides not working with all the installed capacity, Brazilian refining structure was designed to process light oil, though most of the national reserves is heavy oil. This means that not all oil extracted from Brazilian soil can be transformed in our own units. This is the reason that obliges the country to continue importing oil, even having achieved self-sufficiency.

In this context of billionaire investments, it is important to remember that all infrastructure necessary to maintain the operations of refining, keeps great similarities with the Exploration and Production (E & P) industry. Only in equipment such as vessels, pumps, electric engines, furnaces, fans, compressors, tools, safety valves and tanks refineries consume resounding values, not only in the acquiring, but mainly in keeping the functioning of all this structure (see figures).

Although not being deployed in the sea, the refining scheme provides many other features common to the E & P sector, such as unhealthy environments, handling of dangerous products and transportation of heavy loads, rendering Safety, Environment and Health (HSE) requirements and safety training indispensable.

Sectors such as metal-mechanical, electronics, hydraulic, pneumatic, industrial maintenance, engineering project, building and assembly are just some common segments, absorbed by both the producing regions and refiners. All this without counting the operation in the field of refrigeration, heat treatment, information technology and general services.

Balance between production and refining

At the investors’ information site, Petrobras reaffirms that the company's strategy is to improve the refining capacity, seeking a balance with Petrobras oil production growth, meeting the product quality levels required by the market. In this sense, in 2011 refinery Abreu e Lima (Pernambuco) starts operations. COMPERJ will start operations in 2012, refinery Premium I in 2013, and Premium II in 2014.

The international goals also reflect the integrated Company growth with estimates of production of oil and gas 341 thousand boed in 2013. The estimated Petrobras oil and gas production in Brazil and abroad for 2013 is 3.651 million boed. Two semi-submersible platforms (P-55 and P56) and Mexilhão fixed platform are being built. Still in 2009, 23 more tankers are planned for hiring, adding more 1.7 million TPB, three ships to carry bunker and 24 marine support vessels, from a batch of 148 announced by Petrobras. In coming years, the orders already announced are for 124 support ships, eight semi-submersible platforms and FPSOs and 28 drill ships for well-drilling in deep waters.

Brazilian market consolidates with refining

According to the president of Petrobras, José Sergio Gabrielli, the increasing competitiveness in the petrochemical industry promotes the consolidation of the Brazilian market, granting many benefits to the domestic petrochemical industry, such as the increased ability to raise funds and make investments for expansion.

During the 13th Annual Meeting of the Chemical Industry, Gabrielli stressed that sustained growth forecast for the Brazilian economy, together with new discoveries of oil, provides a favorable long-term scenario for the development of the national petrochemical industry. "We intend to maintain our investments in the petrochemical industry, both following the Braskem and Quattor, of which we are members, and in individual projects."

Among the main projects of the Company in the petrochemical sector, the President highlighted the Petrochemical Company of Pernambuco (Petroquímica Suape), the Integrated Textile Company of Pernambuco (Citepe) and the Petrochemical Complex in Rio de Janeiro (Comperj), the latter with investment of around U.S. $ 8.4 billion. Comperj will increase the national crude oil refining capacity with the consequent reduction in imports of derivatives such as naphtha and petrochemical products.

Recent study by the National Bank for Economic Development (BNDES) indicates that the discovery of oil in the pre-salt

Fonte: Click Macaé - Catarina Brust