RIO DE JANEIRO, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras, announced Thursday that it will build the country's biggest natural gas processing plant in Itaborai, about 50 km east of Rio de Janeiro.
Petrobras said it signed a 1.95 billion real (590 million U.S. dollars) contract with a consortium comprised of China's Shandong Kerui Petroleum, and Brazil's Metodo Potencial engineering company.
"The gas processing unit will be the largest in the country, with a capacity of up to 21 million cubic meters a day," said Petrobras in a statement.
Construction will begin in the first half of 2018 and the plant should be ready to start operation in the second half of 2020, it said.
According to Petrobras, the plant will process natural gas produced in the country's pre-salt field, in the Atlantic deep waters of the Santos Belt.
"The project will substantially increase the infrastructure for ... the processing of gas from the pre-salt layer, which will go from 23 million to 44 million cubic meters a day and will contribute to reduce the need (for Brazil to) import natural gas," said the statement.