Petrobras seeking international partners

Brazil’s federal government has reportedly given approval for state-owned Petrobras to seek international partners to accelerate the construction of four local refineries. It comes almost three weeks after Petrobras slashed funding for new refineries by 27.7% to USD 65.5 billion in the company’s new five-year business plan. According to A&P director Arthur Pimentel, Sinopec would be an ideal investor due its technological expertise, competitive costs and large financing capacity.

“China has been following events in Brazil and has the expertise and financial means to be involved in new refineries,” Pimentel told BNamericas.

“Petrobras’ focus has been pre-salt but production in those fields won’t start until 2020. That doesn’t give the company time to prevent demand for imports from spiraling.”

The Abreu e Lima refinery in Pernambuco state was also pushed back a year with the first unit not scheduled to begin operating until November 2014. Local media reported on Tuesday the federal government had given permission to allow foreign investors a stake of up to 49% in Petrobras refineries. The company says it will be forced to import 40% of Brazil’s oil derivatives by 2020 if the refineries are not completed in time.

According to Centro Brasileiro de Infraestrutura (CBIE), Petrobras spent USD 958 million foreign oil shipments in the first quarter, a 7.72% increase on the same period last year.

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