BRASILIA, April 30 (Reuters) - Petroleo Brasileiro SA will not sell its 100,000 barrel-per-day Nansei Sekiyu refinery on Japan’s Okinawa island this year, the company’s chief executive, Maria das Graças Foster, said on Wednesday.
“The sale will not be completed this year,” Foster told a congressional hearing on state-run Petrobras’ controversial 2006 purchase of another refinery, the Pasadena unit near Houston.
“It is part of our divestment plan. We have offers that are under study, but we plan to keep these refineries for the time being for supply security reasons,” she said.
In 2012, Petrobras said it would divest all its refineries outside of Brazil to help expansion at home where soaring costs, falling output and rising fuel imports had crimped its ability to pay for a $237-billion five-year investment plan.
Foster said the main use Petrobras had for the Okinawa refinery was as a storage center, and that a plan to “revamp” the unit was no longer a Petrobras priority.
A few years ago, Petrobras had planned to use Okinawa as a trans-shipment hub for the delivery of Brazilian crude oil to Asia, using the refinery’s five storage tanks with a total capacity for 3.15 million barrels.
Petrobras also has offers for the Pasadena refinery, but it will not be sold, Foster said. After many years of losses, the Pasadena refinery turned a profit for Petrobras this year, she said last week.
A Congressional inquiry will be launched next week into the purchase of the 100,000-barrel-per-day Texas refinery, for which government opponents say the company paid 20 times its true value. (Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Editing by Bernadette Baum)