The project of the Petrochemical Complex of Rio de Janeiro State (Comperj) is considered to be one of the greatest single investments of Petrobras, a Brazilian state company, and marks the return of the company to the petrochemical sector. It is inserted in the Plano de Aceleracao do Crescimento (PAC) of the Federal Government. Petrobras promises to generate an annual turnover of around $2 billion with the export of high value-added products, in addition to the generation of 200 thousand direct and indirect jobs during construction and 50 thousand jobs in the operation phase.
Despite the promise of employment and income generation, various sectors of the population in the region have struggled against the installation or against the adverse effects of other projects related to the complex. Some of these are the installation of a waterway in Guaxindiba river basin or the construction of a submarine outfall to discharge liquid effluent from the complex on the coast near the city of Marica. The project also threatens many protected areas located in the vicinity of Guanabara Bay. In addition, it also threatens the artisanal fisheries in the Bay area. Among the groups that are currently struggling against the project are the artisanal fishermen of Guanabara Bay (in particular groups of Mage, Itaborai, Sao Goncalo and Marica), environmental organizations, residents of areas close to the project and some researchers linked to universities.
Independent studies show that the joint venture would also generate air pollution, with emissions of volatile hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, metals, acids and toxic organic compounds. There are also complaints that Rio de Janeiro state environmental agency, which is responsible for licensing of the project, has been subjected to political pressure on the part of Petrobras and the State Government of Rio de Janeiro for the licensing was done quickly, in spite of all the social and environmental problems identified by their environmental impact study.
The workers are also fighting for better working relationships and have already carried out strikes for better wages.