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Petrobras announces investment of up to R$8 billion in expanding the Abreu e Lima refinery

Petrobras plans to invest R$6 billion to R$8 billion in expanding the oil processing capacity of the Abreu e Lima Refinery (Rnest), in Pernambuco, to 260 thousand barrels per day (bpd) by 2028, compared to current 100 thousand bpd, said this Thursday (18) the company’s CEO, Jean Paul Prates.

The statement was made by the executive during a ceremony at the refinery, in Pernambuco, to mark the resumption of works at the unit, with the presence of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who gave a speech lasting more than 30 minutes where he discussed the history of the refinery and criticized the impacts of the Lava Jato operation on the unit and also on his own life.

Rnest, one of the oil company’s main assets involved in the Lava Jato operation, began operations in 2014, with the departure of the first set of units (train I, in the industry’s jargon) at the Suape Port Industrial Complex, but its original project did not has been completed to date, after experiencing several delays and cost increases.

Complaints highlighted financial deviations in the construction of Rnest, through the payment of overpriced contracts to companies that provided services directly or indirectly to Petrobras.

“We are here welcoming President Lula finally in an act of overcoming and perhaps there is no one in the history of the country who has the history of overcoming our president Lula, and this Rnest is the portrait of overcoming, the portrait of that history”, said Prates , to an audience of workers.

Petrobras had invested around US$18 billion in the construction of Rnest train 1 and part of train 2 until the works were halted, as stated the day before by Petrobras’ executive manager of Production Development Projects, Mariana Cavassin, the journalists.

In its current expansion plan for Rnest, Petrobras plans three important stages. The biggest of these will be to resume work on the construction of train 2 in the second half of this year, which is scheduled for completion in 2028, adding 130,000 bpd of capacity.

The resumption of Rnest train 2 had already been announced in June 2023 and was already foreseen in the company’s strategic plan under the previous government. The project had been suspended in 2015, amid the corruption scandal.

“I’m here at the reopening of part two of this refinery… when it is fully operational, it will earn US$100 billion a year,” stated Lula in his speech.

The oil company also plans to complete works related to gas emission mitigation equipment (SNOX) this year, which will increase the unit’s capacity by 15 thousand bpd. For the first quarter of 2025, work is scheduled to be completed for the expansion of train 1, which will add another 15 thousand bpd.

The expectation is that Rnest’s works will generate around 30 thousand direct and indirect jobs and an increase of around 13 million liters of S10 diesel (low sulfur content) per day to the national production capacity.

Energy transition

During the event, the CEO of Petrobras highlighted that Rnest, in the future, will not end with the end of oil production, and will be prepared to start producing fuels such as hydrogen, e-methanol and renewable diesel.

He also mentioned the company’s plans to produce co-processed diesel with vegetable oils at the unit, in percentages that will gradually increase.

The declaration meets the federal government’s wishes in relation to the company, whose management led by Prates, who took office after Lula’s election, seeks to combine local job creation with a leading role in the energy transition process.

Lula, in his speech, endorsed the path towards energy transition, highlighting Brazil’s competitiveness and arguing that the country will be an important consumer of green fuels.

“We, Jean Paul, are going to use this historic moment of humanity and say the following: this country does not want to be an exporter of green hydrogen. When you are producing green hydrogen in Pernambuco, when you are in Bahia, do you know who will buy it? Petrobras. Because it will be a major consumer of clean and green energy in this country”, stated Lula.

Lula also highlighted that steel companies that want to produce green steel must come to Brazil. “Whoever wants to produce, wants a clean factory, come to Brazil. We are open to receive, with the heart of Brazilians”, she concluded.



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