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Petrobras: Buyers interested in Pasadena refinery

06 Mar 2018 04:20 GMT
Petrobras: Buyers interested in Pasadena refinery

Houston, 6 March (Argus) — Brazilian state-run Petrobras is still working on selling its 100,000 b/d Pasadena refinery in Texas as part of its multi-billion dollar divestiture plan.

The refinery was at the center of a federal probe into corruption at Petrobras involving illicit payments to politicians. It played an indirect role in the impeachment of then-president Dilma Rousseff in 2016, amid claims that she was aware of corruption during Petrobras' acquisition of a 50pc stake in the facility from Belgium's Transcor Astra in 2006 for $360mn. She chaired Petrobras at the time of the purchase. Transcor Astra bought the refinery for $42.5mn in 2005.

The sale is part of Petrobras' $21bn, 2017-18 divestment plan. The plant lies on the Houston Ship Channel and has direct access to the Colonial and Explorer refined products pipelines. A 0.6km² lot next to the refinery, providing access to the channel, has generated particular interest.

"We have seen an interest but I cannot talk in terms of how many there are because we are not in a position as yet to receive the proposals," chief executive Pedro Parente said on the sidelines of the CERAWeek conference in Houston.

Parente ruled out building any new refineries, but reiterated that Petrobras plans to complete two unfinished plants in Brazil provided it finds partners for them. The two are the 165,000 b/d Comperj refinery in Rio de Janeiro state, and a second 115,000 b/d phase at the Abreu e Lima refinery in the northeast state of Pernambuco.

Parente said the company is sticking with its target to boost oil output to 2.8mn b/d in 2022 from 2.1mn b/d this year. The increase will be driven in part by enhancing technology partnership and cooperation that it already has with large oil companies, such as Total and Statoil.

He said the company is also in the midst of undergoing operational and management transition, changing an older order that stifled mid-level managers from taking independent decisions and risks. As a state-run company, Petrobras has been subject to too many processes, which has handicapped decision making, he said.

"We are working on this," he said. "We are in the business of making profits, so we have to take risks."