UPDATE 2-Petrobras new refinery license strictly limits output

lunes 3 de noviembre de 2014 19:52 GYT

* Capacity capped at 45,000 barrels/day on pollution concern

* Higher limit only allowed if pollution equipment works

* Significant diesel output unlikely until 2015 -source (adds details, quotes from CPRH president)

By Jeb Blount and Marta Nogueira

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, received a license to start operating its long-delayed and over-budget RNEST, or "Abreu e Lima," refinery in the northeast of the country, the Pernambuco-state environmental agency said on Monday.

The license limits RNEST to 45,000 barrels a day (bpd) of crude capacity at the first of two planned 115,000 bpd processing "trains." The oil used will have to be of a relatively high grade and contain very little sulfur.

The CPRH, the environmental authority in Brazil's Pernambuco state, wants to be sure equipment to control oxides of sulfur, carbon, nitrogen and other toxic emissions are working properly before allowing an increase in production or the use of heavier and dirtier crude oil.

And even if it starts up this month, RNEST is unlikely to deliver fuel to the Brazilian market until early 2015, four years behind schedule, according to a fuel-market source with direct knowledge of fuel-distribution plans at Petrobras, as the oil company is known.

Further delays and the license's processing limits on the nearly $20 billion heavy-crude refinery will slow Petrobras' planned reduction of money-losing diesel imports, helping bolster demand in the Atlantic Basin fuels market.   Continuación...