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Brazil's Petrobras plans to finish RNEST refinery's Train 1 expansion in early 2025

(Reuters) - Brazilian state-run oil firm Petrobras, opens new tab said on Wednesday that it plans to finish expansion works on Train One of its Abreu e Lima refinery in the first quarter of 2025, nearly a decade after the expansion was halted due to a massive corruption scandal.

Work at the second train of the refinery, located in Pernambuco state, is scheduled to start in the second half of this year and conclude in 2028, said Marina Cavassin, executive manager of production development projects at Petrobras, during a press conference.

"We are talking about several units in a very complex system. We are going to have partial deliveries," she said.

The first train will boost RNEST's capacity by 15,000 barrels per day, to 115,000 bpd. When the second train is concluded, RNEST's refining capacity will reach 260,000 bpd, said the general manager of RNEST, Marcio Maia.

RNEST currently represents around 6% of the state-run firm's refining capacity, said Maia.

The investment at RNEST is part of a wider push by Petrobras to boost fuel production and lower the country's dependency on imports, said the firm's President Jean Paul Prates in a statement.

On Thursday, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will visit the refinery alongside Prates. Last year Lula has pressed the head of Petrobras to boost investments and generate local jobs.

Expansion at RNEST was halted in 2015 during the massive "Car Wash" corruption probe that started investigating contracts at Petrobras in 2014 and eventually led to Lula's incarceration in 2018.

Last year, when Lula took over the presidency, Petrobras shifted from its divestment strategy, renegotiating the terms of a deal with antitrust watchdog CADE that would lead to the sale of eight of its refineries - about 50% of its capacity.

In November, Prates announced a business plan with $102 billion in investments by the company for the 2024-2028 period, in which the RNEST expansion was already accounted for.

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