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Petrobras to buy out Okinawa oil refinery

Date Posted: 2010-04-09

Brazil’s state-owned oil company is studying an offer by Sumitomo Corporation to purchase Sumitomo’s remaining shares of the local Nansei Sekiyu oil refinery.

Petrobras, which already owns 87.5% of the refinery, says it “will analyze Sumitomo’s offer based on terms set forth in the shareholders agreement.” Petrobras purchased its shares in Nansei Sekiyu refinery two years ago for ¥5.6 billion ($56 million). Reports of the proposed buyout are coming from Japan’s Nikkei newspaper, which is saying Petrobras could use the Okinawan facility to boost its Asian operations.

If the Petrobras purchase takes place, it would make Nansei Sekiyu refinery the first fully foreign-owned refinery in Japan. A senior Petrobras official in Rio De Janeiro is being quoted, however, as saying he knows nothing about an impending purchase of the Okinawa company’s stock, and the company is refusing to comment on the deal.

Petrobras, sources say, wants to upgrade the Okinawa facility to handle heavier grades of crude oil being produced by Brazil. If revisions are made to the Okinawa refinery, Petrobras could use the refinery’s storage tanks as a regional supply hub, serving its Asian clients with perhaps 2 million barrels per year.

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