Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (Comperj), Brazil

At the end of March 2008 Brazil's Petrobras began work on the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (Comperj). The facility is located on a 45km2 land in Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro. The first part of the project, the earth works, is expected to be completed over 440 consecutive days.

Once Comperj becomes operational, which is expected in 2012 with completion slated for 2013, the facility will process 150,000bbls/day of domestic heavy crude.

This will form the basis of the feedstock for 1.3mtpa ethene, 880,000tpa of propane, 600,000tpa of benzene, 700,000tpa paraxylene (PX) and 157,000tpa of butadiene.

In addition, the complex is slated to produce 500,00tpa of styrene, 600,000tpa of ethylene glycol (EG), 800,00tpa of polyethylene (PE), 850,000tpa polypropylene (PP) and 500,000tpa of purified terephthalic acid and 600,000tpa of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The project will also include an integration centre and a liquid distribution centre.


Total investment costs for whole of the Comperj project are put at $8.5bn, making it one of the largest industrial/petrochemical projects in the world in terms of the cost.

The initial phase of the project involves the construction of a basic petrochemical unit. This is being built in partnership with the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) and other parties. The cost of the basic petrochemical unit is put at $3.5bn of the total investment cost.

Project management services

WorleyParsons was selected by Petrobras to carry out integration and project management services on the Comperj facilities.

"Once operational the facility will process 150,000bbls/day of domestic heavy crude."

The contract covers front-end engineering and design (FEED) for utilities, and offsites, as well as the provision of "other technical services".

WorleyParsons said that the contract is valued at $110m and also includes services such as preparation for the implementation of the project, cost estimation and documentation for contracting companies for the detailed design, procurement and construction of the facilities.

Process technology

During the final quarter of 2007 Axens announced that it was to provide process technology for Petrobras' Comperj project. Through the agreement Axens will supply its ParamaX technologies as well as middle distillate, kerosene and pyrolysis gasoline and heavy naphtha hydrotreatment units.

ParamaX is a suite of technologies for the production of paraxylene (PX) and benzene from naphtha feedstock. Axens and ExxonMobil Chemical have entered into an alliance to provide the PX production technology. German contractor Uhde will also provide its Morphylane aromatics extraction process as part of the ParamaX suite of technologies.


According to Petrobras; Comperj marks a significant return to the petrochemical sector for the first time in almost two decades.

Through Comperj, the company intends to increase Brazil's heavy oil refining capacity, and to reduce import requirements of by-products. This will enable Brazil to save more than $2bn in foreign exchange and $200m in taxes, says Petrobras.

Comperj is expected to generate more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, and over 50,000 jobs after the complex comes on stream.


At the end of October 2008 the Shaw Group announced that its Energy and Chemicals Group had been awarded contracts by Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) to provide its proprietary ethylene technology for the petrochemical complex.

The contract award also requires Shaw Group to supply its Ultra Selective Conversion furnace equipment, basic engineering and technical services for the 1m tpa ethylene plant. Shaw will also provide similar services for the recovery section of a petrochemical fluidised catalytic cracking (FCC) unit, which will also use Petrobras technology.

In March 2010, Petrobras awarded a $623m contract to Skanska for designing and constructing a 150,000b/d refinery at the complex.

A $1.1bn EPC contract for the atmospheric vacuum distillation unit was awarded to a consortium of Skanska, Promon and Engevix in March 2010.

"Comperj is expected to generate over 50,000 jobs after the complex comes on stream."

Alusa Engenharia was awarded a $1.46bn EPC contract for the catalytic hydrocracking unit.

In April 2010, a consortium of Techint Engenharia and Andrade Gutierrez was awarded a $1.1bn contract for constructing a delayed coking unit.

In November 2010, Emerson Process Management was contracted for providing process automation technologies for the Comperj.

The scope of work includes providing process automation technologies and engineering services, and systems integration for the few utilities, refining unit and offsite operations.

Further developments

In March 2010, a $R56m ($31m) contractual amendment was signed between Petrobras and Cadae, the state water utility. Under the contract Petrobras will construct a duct through which Cadae will provide treated water to the complex.