Rio de Janeiro – Brazilian oil giant Petrobras's new investment plan includes the funds needed to complete the refinery being built with PDVSA in case the Venezuelan state-owned oil company has to abandon the project, executives said Tuesday.
"If PDVSA leaves the project, we will not be prevented from completing it. It is accounted for in our new business plan that Petrobras assume 100 percent of the investment alone," Petrobras CFO Almir Barbassa told Efe.
Petrobras is constructing the Abreu e Lima refinery in the port of Suape, a few kilometers outside Recife, the capital of Pernambuco state.
The refinery is more than one-third complete, Petrobras says.
Petrobras expects PDVSA to remain a partner in the project, but it is working under "conservative" guidelines that require setting aside enough reserves to be able to finish the refinery if the Venezuelan company pulls out, Barbassa said.
"The possibility (that the other party will pull out) is foreseen in the funds that were approved, but if PDVSA comes in we'll have excess resources that we'll be able to put into other projects," Barbassa said.
Petrobras has a 60 percent stake in the $16.25 billion refinery, which will have the capacity to process 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) of petroleum by 2013, while PDVSA has a 40 percent interest.
The board of directors of Petrobras approved the 2011-2015 business plan last Friday, giving the green light to $224.7 billion in investment, of which $35.4 billion will go toward expanding refining capacity.
"These resources include 100 percent of the investment needed for Petrobras to construct (the refinery) alone, which is what we are doing," Barbassa said, adding that Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, has not contributed anything to the project so far.
PDVSA has until August to decide whether it wants to continue the refinery partnership or not, Petrobras director of downstream operations Paulo Roberto Costa said Monday.
Petrobras has completed about 35 percent of the refinery project on its own, Costa said.
The refinery's construction was started with a $6.25 billion loan obtained by Petrobras from the state-owned BNDES development bank, Costa said.
Negotiations on the refinery project dragged on for several years due to differences over what each party's final stake would be, and Petrobras decided to start construction on its own due to PDVSA's failure to assume its share of the BNDES loan.