Acknowledged as one of the largest construction ventures in the history of Petrobras, the “Complexo Petroquímico do Rio de Janeiro” (Comperj - Petrochemical Complex of Rio de Janeiro) marks the renewal of the company’s activity in the petrochemical sector. The venture is being built on an area of 45 million square meters (4.500 hectares) in the municipality of Itaboraí - an area equivalent to over six thousand soccer fields or six boroughs the size of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Sul (Southern Zone). The objective of the project is to increase both the country’s capacity to refine heavy crude oil and the production of petrochemicals and, consequently, reduce the importation of petroleum derivatives and petrochemical products. Work on the complex began on March 31st 2008 and the company’s sights are set on going into operation as of September 2014.
Comperj will be implemented in two steps. The first phase of the venture is focused on the implementation of refining units which will process up to 165,000 barrels of oil per day to produce diesel, LPG, jet fuel (kerosene), naphtha, coke and sulfur to supply the domestic market and provide raw material for petrochemical plants. The second phase of the refinery is expected to go into operation in 2018. The petrochemical units are scheduled to begin operating in 2017 producing ethylene, propylene, polyethylenes and polypropylene, among other petrochemicals. With the start up of the second refining unit, initial production is expected to double.
In addition to increasing the country’s capacity to refine heavy crude oil, Comperj is expected to transform the socioeconomic profile of its region of influence. In all, the investment of some US$ 8.3 billion will transform the state into a hub of opportunities in the sector of thermoplastic resins and fuels.
A study conducted by the “Fundação Getúlio Vargas” (FGV - Getúlio Vargas Foundation) establishes that this petrochemical hub should attract 724 companies - most of which (i.e. 90%) micro and small business enterprises that will be attracted by the availability of raw materials. The expectation, according to the FGV, is that, if all estimates prove to be true, Comperj will mean growth of 39% in the GDP of the region directly influenced by the Complex between now and 2015. The same survey further points out that even the municipalities that, in theory, will receive a smaller share of investment will experience an economic leap forward, as is the case of the cities of Tanguá (35% rise in GDP) and Guapimirim (29%) in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The complex is expected to strongly attract to the region the complete chain involved in the transformation of second-generation petrochemical products into consumer goods, such as: components for the auto industry, surgical materials and major household and kitchen appliances, etc.
The complex is situated in a geographical center - in the city of Itaboraí - from which it is able to serve the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Espirito Santo. The complex will enjoy facilities in terms of logistics for access to the main highways of Brazil’s Southeast and seaports in the region. To accomplish this, roads are being built to provide primary and secondary access, as well as an alternate access route for the arrival of large equipment.
Located near the Ports of Itaguaí (103 km) and Rio de Janeiro, and near the terminals of Angra dos Reis (157 km), Ilha d’Água and Ilha Redonda (30 km), the city of Itaboraí is served by roads and railways. Furthermore, it has, as its neighbors, the Duque de Caxias Refinery (REDUC) (50 km), the petrochemical plants of “Rio Polímeros” (Rio Polymers) and Suzano (50 km) and the “Leopoldo Americo Miguez de Mello Center for Research and Development” (Cenpes) (38 km).
Approximately 15,000 employees are active at the jobsite, hired by the 20 consortia participating in this mega-venture on several fronts. A total of 200,000 direct, indirect and “income-effect” jobs are expected to be created during the five years of construction and after the start up of operation; all on a national scale. The manpower that is established in the cities directly impacted by the complex is also receiving training and qualification courses offered by the “Centro de Integração” (Center for Integration) - another project that was proposed and already implemented. The expectation is to prepare about 30,000 professionals whose personal data will be stored in a database for their future employment, whether by Comperj or by companies that are attracted to the region.
Petrobras has established six S.A.’s (incorporated companies) in Rio de Janeiro, all wholly and exclusively Brazilian-owned subsidiaries:
Comperj Participações S.A.: “Society for a Specific Purpose” which will hold the shares of Petrobras in the producing societies within the Comperj;
Comperj Petroquímicos Básicos S.A.: Society for the production of base petrochemicals;
Comperj PET S.A.: Society for the production of PTA/PET;
Comperj Estirênicos S.A.: Society for production of styrene;
Comperj MEG S.A.: Society for production of ethylene glycol and ethylene oxide;
Comperj Poliolefinas S.A.: Society for production of polyolefins (PP/PE).
At first Petrobras will own 100% of the total and voting capital in these companies, at which time the model for integration and relationships with Comperj companies will be implemented. With the establishment of these companies, Petrobras will begin the preparation phase of the project for the admission of potential partners.
As regards Petrobras, the implementation of Comperj strengthens the process of integration with the petrochemical business which was interrupted in the 1990’s. The company’s goal is to make its industrial transformation of petroleum even more complete by enabling the production - directly and all in one place - of fuel, plastic resins and other products of varied uses and great utility.
At the site, there will be a first-generation refining unit to produce base petrochemicals - a unit which will refine heavy crude oil and produce ethylene, benzene, p-xylene and propylene - and a group of second-generation units. In this group, base petrochemicals will be transformed into petrochemical products such as styrene, ethylene glycol, polyethylene, polypropylene and PTA / PET.
Million dollar contracts
With the largest investments in the history of the country announced in the oil & gas sector, Comperj represents a great opportunity for growth for many Brazilian companies. Almost all the equipment and services have already been hired and the work had advanced to about 25% of actual physical completion by December of last year, as reported by Petrobras.
The first major contract for the construction of the complex was signed with the “Consórcio Terraplanagem Comperj” (CTC - Comperj Earthmoving Consortium) established by the Andrade Gutierrez / Odebretch Odebrecht / Queiroz Galvao construction companies for the execution of the earthmoving for the entire area of the petrochemical complex at a cost of approximately R$ 820 million (US$ 468.57 Mio). This was the largest earthmoving job ever done in Brazil, as reported by Odebrecht in the compnay’s news site (www.odebrechtonline.com). Neither the construction of the Itaipu or San Antonio hydroelectric power plants nor the petrochemical hubs of Camaçari or Triunfo required as much movement of earth. Forty-five million cubic meters of land or as much as 12 Maracanã stadiums full of earth were moved, mobilizing over 600 units of equipment.
The time frame of works, estimated to involve 440 calendar days, was impacted by heavy rains that hit the region between late 2009 and early 2010.
The construction of access roads to the Comperj (“Estrada Sul” and ‘Estrada Convento’ Roads) was initiated in 2011. The Estrada Sul will provide access to the RJ-116 highway and is expected to be open to traffic in March of this year.
In December of last year, Petrobras signed a contract with the consortium formed by Toyo Brazil, UTC and Odebrecht to perform services relating to the elaboration of the executive project, supplying of equipment and materials, civil construction, electromechanical assembly and commissioning of the water treatment station (WTS) and industrial wastewater (industrial effluents) treatment plant (IWWTP) and of the thermoelectric power plant (with an installed capacity of 260 MW of electricity and 1,000 tons/hour of steam) at the Petrochemical Complex of Rio de Janeiro (Comperj). The term of the contract for performance of services is approximately three years.
With the signing of this contract, all of the contracts for the construction and assembly of the processing units for the first phase of the refinery have been established and all critical equipment has been hired. It is estimated that the civil construction works for all the processing units will be completed by the end of 2012.
A month earlier, Petrobras and the engineering group MPE - Participações em Engenharia e Serviços signed a contract for the construction and installation of pipelines/piperacks in the complex. The document includes the design of the executive project, construction, electromechanical assembly, interconnections, commissioning and supply of goods/assets for the pipelines/piperacks of the complex.
The construction and assembly of the complex will call for the use of approximately 12,000 tons of pipes, 36,200 meters of piles, 21,700 cubic meters of concrete for the foundations and 1,040 tons of metal supporting brackets along the 4.5 km of the piperacks/pipelines. The contract establishes a term of 1,183 calendar days to perform the services. Another major supply contract for Comperj was signed with Santa Bárbara - a contractor from the state of Minas Gerais. The company won the tender of R$ 176 million (US$ 100.6 Mio) to build the petrochemical complex’s fire-fighting system. Santa Bárbara will collect its payment in 21 months with the completion of the work.
It was the second major contract that the contractor signed with Petrobras. Before that, Santa Bárbara had already finished work on the construction of a coke plant under a contract of R$ 160 million (US$ 91.43 Mio).
In March 2010, the Skanska / Promon / Engevix consortium signed a contract with Petrobras for the construction of the Atmospheric and Vacuum Distillation Units (ADU/VDU) for an estimated cost of R$ 1.1 billion (US$ 628.6 Mio).
Another company engaged to render services to Comperj was EPC - Engenharia Projeto Consultoria S/A (Engineering, Design, Consultancy). The company was awarded two contracts for the development of projects in the Petrochemical Complex of Rio de Janeiro (Comperj). EPC will develop project detailing of the Catalytic Hydrocracking Unit (CHU) for Alusa Engineering at Comperj, besides developing a turnkey project for electrical power distribution for Gel Engineering, which is responsible for supplying of water and distribution of electrical energy at the complex.
EPC is providing detailed, multi-disciplinary project engineering, management of engineering services, technical assistance in construction and assembly and commissioning of the Catalytic Hydrocracking Unit which is the first CHU in the country to perform the process of chemically breaking down or cracking crude oil using hydrogen at high pressure. This process ensures end products that are finer, higher in value and more diverse than those obtained by breaking down oil at high temperatures; the system which is presently used in Brazil.
Considering industrial plant will occupy only a part of the land and that the area is undergoing overt deterioration, according to the Report on Environmental Impact (RIMA - “Relatório de Impacto Ambiental”) prepared for the complex, Petrobras developed a project for the creation of a ‘Habitat/Wildlife Corridor’ (“Corredor Ecológico”). The goal in doing so is to restore the native flora and establish a connection between the mangrove and the area of Atlantic Forest in the region where the project is located. To accomplish this, Petrobras plans to plant four million tree seedlings and to establish a forest nursery at the Fazenda Viveiros, located in Itaboraí, with an annual production capacity of 300,000 seedlings of Atlantic Forest plant species.
So far, about 4,300 animals including snakes, armadillos, monkeys, hawks and capybaras have been rescued in the area of Comperj establishment since the beginning of its construction. The vast majority of this wildlife is returned to its natural habitat in other areas. Some of the animals, before being released, are submitted to examination and assessment by biologists and veterinarians of the Foundation for Support to Scientific and Technological Research of the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ). These professionals are responsible for the implementation of the program for conservation of the region’s fauna - promoted by Petrobras - and for the assessment of the environmental impacts caused by the project. The foundation’s technicians observed, for example, an increase in the population of rodents, such as the Brazilian guinea pig, in the region. They believe that this has resulted from a decline in hunting in that region.
Petrobras has three partners in this venture: The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) which, in association with the Johanna Döbereiner Foundation, elaborated the design concept for corridor; the OSCIP Innatus (Organization of Civil Society in the Public Interest), which has trained about 400 people from the community in forestry practices (silviculture); and the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ), responsible for developing programs for the recovery of degraded areas.
According to guidelines established by the Report on Environmental Impact (RIMA), work sites/yards that provide support for construction activities should be located in areas located as far as possible from path of rainwater flow (surface run-off) on the construction grounds. To mitigate the impact of land clearing and earthmoving, the report stresses that the excavation and movement of land that should be carried out so that the soil and subsoil are exposed for the least amount of time possible. In addition, these sites must be built to withstand heavy rains, to hold the run-off material (organic minerals). In turn, the areas that have been altered with earthwork, especially when inclined, are to be restored and covered with vegetation using techniques that promote the rapid development of low-growing shrub vegetation.
Further among the programs to be implemented at the Comperj complex are the programs for Risk Management and the Control and Monitoring of Noise. The former, which is the responsibility of contractors, provides for the implementation and maintenance of preventive and control measures as required by environmental law and according to Petrobras standards. The greatest likelihood of accidents lies in spills of fuel oils and lubricants; collisions of vehicles or machines; and running over of personnel by equipment or vehicles. The latter program targets the minimization of the effects of noise via measures such as the use of hearing-protection PPE by workers at the job site and by operators of motorized equipment that has exhaust systems equipped with mufflers.