Nansei shuts refining units.
Nansei Sekiyu, a Japanese refiner wholly owned by Brazil's Petrobras, said that it had started the process to temporarily shut the refining units at its 100,000 barrels-per-day Nishihara refinery in Okinawa, southwest of Japan's main islands.
The step is part of a long-term plan by Petrobras to withdraw from the nation.
The shutdown process will take about two days, and the company will test whether the plant can function as an oil terminal to maintain fuel supplies to Okinawa, a company spokeswoman said. The duration of the shutdown was undecided, she added.
Nansei said it would maintain the refining units so they could be restarted.
Petrobras has not set a schedule for withdrawal from Japan. After the refining operations in Okinawa officially end, the plant will continue its role as a marine and land cargo terminal until the transfer of the terminal to a new operator is completed, Nansei added. Petrobras said as early as 2011 that it would consider selling the only refinery on the Okinawa islands to focus on the development of its domestic offshore oil discoveries.
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