Refinery will be completed, Brazil's president says

Rio de Janeiro, Mar 26 (EFE).- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vowed that a refinery in the northeastern state of Pernambuco initially conceived as a joint project with Venezuela will be completed.

"There are people who say the Abreu e Lima won't happen. They are prophets of doom, prophets of doom who are wrong," she said during a speech in Serra Talhada, Pernambuco.

Brazil's first new refinery in 33 years will be processing 230,000 barrels of oil per day by March 2015, Rousseff said.

Petrobras and Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA agreed in 2005 to build the refinery as a joint project.

But Petrobras began constructing the plant in 2007 without any contribution from PDVSA, whose financing arrangements have yet to be accepted by Brazil's BNDES state development bank.

Negotiations on PDVSA's joining the project were suspended due to the March 5 death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, though Petrobras continues to hold out hope that Venezuela will fulfill its commitments.

Petrobras CEO Maria das Gra├žas Foster said last week that a meeting has been scheduled to discuss PDVSA's incorporation in Abreu e Lima, which would require an investment of $17.35 billion.

The original accord called for PDVSA to take a 40-percent stake in the venture.

Petrobras has invested $11.7 billion in the project and the refinery is around 70 percent complete, Foster said.

Abreu e Lima is set to begin operating in November 2014.