Brazil-based multinational energy company Petrobras has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) to jointly conduct feasibility study of Premium 1 refinery project in the state of Maranhão.

The LOI is based on Sinopec’s interest to examine the possibility of setting up a joint venture with Petrobras for the implementation of the refinery.

The $20bn worth Premium 1 refinery is expected to have an initiall processing capacity of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), which will be increased to 600,000bpd in 2020, reported Reuters.

Petrobras is also planning to conduct a joint feasibility study with Korea’s GSS Holdings to develop another refinery, Premium 2, with a processing capacity of about 300,000bpd in the country.

Petrobras is expecting the two premium refineries to begin operations in 2017 and 2018.

The company is importing gasoline and diesel as their demand is exceeding the production rate.