Fábrica Carioca de Catalisadores (FCC S.A.), with an industrial unit in Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, is going to invest, until mid 2005, circa US$ 23 million to expand the capacity of annual production of catalysts from 33,000 to 45,000. The purpose of the company, controlled by Petrobras and Albemarle Catalysts, is to assist in the growing demand for catalysts, a chemical product used in the oil refining process.
According to FCC S.A. superintendent, Rubens Novicki, the expansion will increase the company gross income from US$ 90 million, registered in 2003, to US$ 117 million, a 30% increase. The factory will also generate around 200 new jobs during the equipment exchange period. FCC S.A. counts on 467 employees, amongst employees and outsourced workers.
Novicki explained that, apart from the production increase, the investment will power product efficiency. This means that with a lower volume of catalysts it will be possible to refine more oil and with better quality. "Petrobras is concluding the investments in the expansion of its refining unit in Rio Grande do Sul, REFAP, from where the best part of the oil will come. "We will supply first-line catalysts to the unit ", he said.
Production expansion, to be financed by a private bank, will assist in the growing demand of the internal market (Petrobras and, with a small participation, Ipiranga), the destination of 28 thousand tons produced in the factory each year. Novicki said that 33 thousand tons a year will start being supplied to the internal market, but he reminds that this forecast may vary due to the increase in catalyst profitability.
We supply 95% of the catalysts used in Petrobras refining process. The other 5% the state company imports with the purpose of comparing quality and productivity of what is produced in the country - explained Novicki.
Ipiranga Group, South America and Cuba among clients
Apart from Petrobrás, FCC S.A. sells to Ipiranga in Brazil. To South America and Cuba, FCC S.A. exports three thousand tons and is responsible for 77% of the total in the markets where it participates. According to Novicki, South America has a market for 50 thousand tons of catalysts.
We have supply contracts to Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru and Cuba. We intend to also join the Venezuelan market, where we still do not work due to lack of production capacity - states the officer.
Petrobras and Albemarle Catalysts have, each, 50% of FCC S.A.'s capital. The plant was born out of Petrobras' strategic intention that, in the 80's planned the prospecting of heavy oil loads and foresaw the need to substitute imported catalysts, controlled by three large groups, for those produced domestically. The original shareholders (Petrobrás, Akzo Nobel and Oxiteno) invested approximately US$ 135 million in the unit between 1985 and 1990.
Fluid Catalytic Cracking is the most important process of heavy hydrocarbon conversion into several products of higher aggregated value, which comprises the set of refinery fuels.
FCC S.A. markets 14 different types of additives, which are used in refineries with the same purpose as the catalyst, but directed to a more specific function. Amongst additives, the Resolve type 700, 750, 800 and 950 reduce the amount of sulphur in gasoline, main agent responsible for the release of polluting gas to the atmosphere.
Our research center develops, every 17 days, new product formulas - said Novicki, who reminds that the solutions to reduce sulphur meet Petrobrás' intention.
Regarding oil production self-sufficiency, announced by Petrobras for 2005, Novicki stated that as regarding the objective, the target is of little or no importance. He said that it is a political issue, opting between using the oil reserves now or in the future.
Fábrica Carioca de Catalisadores S.A. is an international technology company that produces and provides solutions in catalysts and additives for the oil refinning industry.
As a joint venture, FCC S.A. joins the tradition and know-how of two world giants of the oil and petrochemical areas – Petrobras and Albemarle Corporation.