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Brazil's Petrobras plans 62 per cent Abreu e Lima crude-oil processing boost

Date 09-July-2015
Subject Brazil's Petrobras plans 62 per cent Abreu e Lima crude-oil processing boost

RIO DE JANEIRO : Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras hopes to boost the crude processing capacity of its newest refinery 62 per cent to as much as 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the second half of this year, the company's refining chief said Wednesday.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, plans to start testing higher processing levels at the Abreu e Lima, or RNEST, refinery near Recife, Brazil, this month, giving the company a chance to convince the local government to end environmental limits on production, Jorge Celestino, the company's senior refining executive told Reuters.

When RNEST began output in November, the state government of Pernambuco restricted crude throughput to 45,000 bpd, later raised to 74,000 bpd, on the first of two planned 115,000 bpd production lines, or "trains."

The restriction was to remain in place until Petrobras could show that its air-pollution abatement equipment worked. The refinery was built next to one of Brazil's most popular and exclusive beach-resort areas. Pernambuco environmental officials declined a request to comment.

To this end, Petrobras has decided to use a heavy-crude blend that it calls "DTE" in an effort to limit emissions, Celestino added.

"The emissions are totally in line with requirements at the refinery," he said. "The project is not hibernating, it's moving forward, and based on the conversations we've had (with the government) we are very optimistic that we will be processing more very shortly."

Processing levels would first be raised to 90,000 bpd and if all is well with operations and emissions, raised to 115,000 bpd soon after, Celestino said.

The $20 billion refinery, one of the most expensive ever built, began operations four years behind schedule in late 2014. A second 115,000-120,000 bpd train was supposed to be operating by the end of 2018.

New output at Abreu e Lima will be focused on diesel-10, which has a maximum of 10 parts per million of sulfur, a dangerous atmospheric pollutant. Such "ultra-low-sulfur" blends are the only types allowed in most major Brazilian cities and in many export markets.

Petrobras is scrambling to increase domestic refining and fuel production as local demand rises and as it faces restrictions on the price it can charge for imported fuels. It now imports about 300,000 bpd of gasoline and diesel, an amount that will fall to about 250,000 bpd in 2018 when the second RNEST train starts, Celestino said last month.

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NEW DELHI : The Government has set up Customs Clearance and Facilitation Committees (CCFCs) at ports to ensure expeditious customs clearance of goods to improve ease of doing business for traders.

"Ease of doing business: Customs Clearance and Facilitation Committees in ports bringing in systemic improvements. It's a recent initiative," Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das said. It will facilitate trade at all the major Customs Seaports and Airports.

Welcoming the move, exporters body FIEO (Federation of Indian Export Organisations) said the move will help in getting faster clearances from different agencies. "Traders take clearances from different agencies for exports and imports. These committees will help in resolving matters related to clearances. Any delay in this process impacts traders," FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai said. The CCFC will be headed by the Chief Commissioner of Customs / Commissioner of Customs in charge of the seaport and airport concerned.

It will have the senior-most functionary of Food Safety Standards Authority of India/Port health officer, plant quarantine and animal quarantine authorities, Drug Controller of India, Port Trust / Airport Authority of India/Custodians, and Railways / CONCOR, among others as its members.

The CCFC has been tasked with monitoring and ensuring speedy clearance of imported and export goods in accordance with the timeline. It has also been asked to identify and resolve bottlenecks, if any, in the clearance procedure. The CCFC would meet once a week or more frequently, if considered necessary by the chair. The Government, in recent times, has taken a number of steps to create a more friendly business environment and trade facilitation, and setting up of the CCFC is a step in that direction.

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