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July 19, 2017

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Petrobras Resumes Massive Blending Expansion

Petrobras is reviving a dormant plan to expand its lubricant blending plant in Duque de Caxias, Brazil. Expected to begin this year and end by 2020, the project will increase production capacity from approximately 290,000 metric tons per year to 450,000 t/y.

The project originally began several years ago but was halted in 2012. Petrobras, which is partly owned by the government of Brazil, said some of the equipment it intends to use has been stored since that time.

Companies placing bids are subjected to a risk assessment process to determine how the bidder interacts with its employees and any ethical or fairness issues that may arise. The board of directors will have to approve a final bidder due to the size of the project.

Bidding for such projects has come under increased scrutiny in Brazil due to the recent scandal involving both Petrobras and the Brazilian government. Beginning in the early 2000s Petrobras allegedly agreed to overpay contract winners for their services in return for bribes and often shared said bribes with government officials. The scandal implicated many high-ranking Petrobras officials and Brazil’s president.

The lubricant plant in Duque de Caxias is the largest in Brazil, producing and distributing roughly 900 items for the automotive, marine, rail, air and industrial segments, according to Petrobras. The company plans to use the upgrade to help continue expanding its Lubrax line, which holds about 24 percent of the nation’s market share.

Petrobras officials hope this upgrade will aid the company in increasing sales of lubricants and reduce production costs.

Approximately 40 percent of the work has already been completed, according to Petrobras. A palletizing area and a new filling line for one liter bottles are currently operational, and an automatic vertical warehouse for storage and shipment of package products is expected to start up later this year