Petrobras aims to resume big fertilizer project, invest in Bolivia

(Reuters) – The chief executive of Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA) said on Thursday he expects to resume work on a major nitrogen fertilizer project in the city of Tres Lagoas, and hinted at new gas projects in Bolivia.

Chief Executive Officer Jean Paul Prates predicted starting construction again at the project at an event in Rio de Janeiro, thought he did not provide a timeline, while also noting the Brazilian oil giant is evaluating potential natural gas projects in neighboring Bolivia.

Tres Lagoas is located in the midwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, which borders Bolivia.

Petrobras has tried for years to sell the Nitrogen Fertilizer Unit III (UFN-III) in Tres Lagoas. Construction was halted in 2014 with about 80% of the works completed.

When operational, the unit is expected to produce 2,200 tonnes of ammonia and 3,600 tonnes of urea daily, or about a fifth of the urea consumption in Brazil, home to one of the world’s biggest farming industries.

Prates did not link the fertilizer project with the possible investment in Bolivia, which already supplies volumes contracted by Brazil. But a new gas supply would help the fertilizer sector.

Prates said that the company will discuss with Bolivia financial terms, but did not provide further details.

Separately, the executive said that reinjection of natural gas in oil wells is essential to its crude production, especially in its pre-salt fields.

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