Petrobras Group II Plant Plans Progress

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Petrobras Group II Plant Plans Progress
© Donatas Dabravolskas

Petrobras chose a concept on Dec. 22 for the base oil and fuel production units of its GasLub hub in Itaborai, Brazil, and gave the go-ahead for detailed engineering studies of those aspects of the facility.

The long drawn-out project is located in an area of Rio de Janeiro. The selected concept calls for an API Group II base oil plant with capacity to make 12,000 barrels per day plus a 75,000 b/d diesel unit and facilities that can make up to 20,000 b/y of very low sulfur kerosene aviation fuel.

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The base oil plant would include catalytic hydrocracking, hydrotreating and hydrogen isomerization dewaxing units.

The company now moves into development phases, starting with basic engineering studies needed for project planning will be carried out. According to Petrobras’ project approval governance, the conclusion of the planning phase will lead to the final investment decision and the contracting process for the start of work on the project.

The company said the development of the GasLub base oils and fuel plant is part of Petrobras’ strategy to expand and upgrade its refining facilities to delivery higher-value-added and higher-quality products to serve the market.

Petobras said the new plant will also make it possible for it to appropriately and profitably use a large proportion of the facilities and units of the former Comperj (Complexo Petroquimico do Rio de Janeiro), thereby enabling the processing of intermediate streams originating from a refinery at Duque de Caxias, Brazil.

GasLub is a large natural gas processing project developed out of the notorious Comperj project. Construction of the latter began with much fanfare in 2008, but it was never finished due to long delays caused by investigations that found bribes were taken for some of its contracts. Comperj was renamed GasLub in 2020 to break with negative perceptions that attached to it during the Car Wash corruption scandal.

Petrobras in November 2021 revealed plans to invest U.S. $68 million over the next five years on several capital projects, including integrating the Itaborai GasLub project with the existing Duque de Caxias refinery and to build a Group II plant at the GasLub facility. Petrobras last year said it was seeking partners to help finance the remaining work, and in December 2020 it had said it indicated it would spend $490 million on a catalytic hydrocracker that help produce Group II oils. At that time, the company didn’t announce a timeline for completing the base oil project.