May 15, 2020
At the press conference given by Petrobras management, the company’s president, Roberto Castello Branco, made a point of stressing the change in the name of the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (Comperj), which he refers to as a “graveyard of corruption”. In an attempt to erase the past of scandals involving the enterprise, the company changed the name of the project to Gaslub Itaboraí. In fact, Comperj has been tarnished for being the scene of corruption schemes. What Petrobras cannot fail to do is for the project to accumulate another title – that of “company cemetery”.
As we have reported throughout this week, the Kerui-Método consortium, responsible for the works of the Gaslub Itaboraí Natural Gas Processing Unit (UPGN), sent a letter to its suppliers about their financial difficulties and rescheduling of payments. Something that can complicate the already complicated financial situation of Brazilian companies that provide equipment and services for the works. Petrobras says it has been monitoring the situation and monitoring the payment to the companies involved in the project.
Comperj’s soap opera began more than 12 years ago. Launched in 2008, still under the government of then President Lula, the project aimed to process about 8% of Brazil’s oil production at that time. The dream was to make the country self-sufficient and an exporter of petrochemicals. But it all turned into a nightmare when Operation Car Wash revealed the scams behind the works.
Petrobras started trying to reach an agreement with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in 2018 to complete the works on the project’s refinery, which were halted in 2015. Last year, however, the two companies concluded that the construction of the unit was not economically viable.
Now, at the construction site, work continues on the construction of the Rota 3 gas pipeline and the UPGN. In the case of the processing unit, there was a 70% reduction in the number of workers as a mitigation measure against the coronavirus pandemic.