Petrobras eyes more refineries

The Brazilian oil company Petrobras is still finalizing plans for expanding a refinery it partly owns on the Houston Ship Channel, and could buy all or part of other refineries in the U.S. and elsewhere as it boosts oil and natural gas production in coming years, the head of the company said today.
“We have several possibilities, but we are not going to disclose them,” Petrobras President Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo told reporters during a press conference at OTC.
There is “no one target,” but rather it will be a “matter of opportunity” if Petrobras decides to buy more refining assets, he said.
He said certain memoranda of understanding and confidentiality agreements prevented him from saying more about which specific properties the company could be eyeing.
Last September, Petrobras bought a 50 percent stake in a refinery owned by Pasadena Refining Company for $370 million.
Alberto Guimares, head of the Petrobras’ Americas division, said Tuesday it should decide “pretty soon” how and when to expand the 100,000-barrel-a-day refinery. Previously, the company said it will double the facility’s capacity and adapt it to process heavier crude oils.
Petrobras wants to increase its oil refining capacity to accommodate higher oil production volumes it expects in coming years. Now, the company produces 1.9 million barrels of oil a day and has an equal amount of refining capacity. But it estimates it will be producing 4.5 million barrels of oil by 2015, and wants its refining assets to keep up.
When reporters tried to pin down Gabrielli de Azevedo on where Petrobras would consider buying more refining assets, he said the United States, Europe and Asia. Then, laughing, he said, “the globe.”