SAO PAULO – Brazilian state oil company Petrobras and China’s state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation on Wednesday signed a letter of intent to conclude construction of a refinery in Rio de Janeiro, the South American company said.
Work on the refinery, known as the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (Comperj), has been stalled since 2015 due to the sprawling Car Wash probe, initially focused on a massive bribes-for-inflated contracts scandal centered on Petrobras.
The Comperj refinery would provide China its first refining capacity in the Americas.
The letter of intent, contained in a securities filing sent to the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, is part of negotiations announced a year ago on a “strategic partnership” between the two companies.
The document defines the assets that make up their “integrated project, which includes the conclusion of the Comperj refinery.”
Separately, the companies are negotiating the sale of a stake in the Marlim oil field, located in deep waters of the Campos Basin, to the Chinese company.
Since 2013, Petrobras and CNPC have been partners along with other companies in a consortium that is developing the massive Libra field, located in waters off Brazil’s southeastern coast.
The Brazilian company is currently carrying out an ambitious restructuring program that includes asset sales and is aimed at overcoming a severe financial crisis triggered by the Car Wash scandal.