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High-voltage XLPE cables and accessories from Nexans will be used to interconnect the two main electrical substations at the new Comperj petrochemical complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Petrobras is constructing the Comperj complex to help increase Brazil’s capacity to refine oil and reduce the number of petrochemical products it has to import.

It is expected to come online in 2013 and will be capable of processing 165,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day.

The two main substations at Comperj are separated by a distance of around 3.25km and the Nexans cables will provide a high-voltage interconnection with two circuits.

Nexans is supplying a complete turnkey solution including a total of 19.5km of 345kV XLPE-insulated cables with termination, pre-moulded joints, an earthing system and corresponding installation services.

A key feature of the Nexans XLPE cable for Comperj is the smooth aluminium sheath (SAS), manufactured from aluminium laminate, laser welded longitudinally directly over the cable insulation.

This design ensures a 100 per cent watertight cable that is also more robust and lighter than lead or copper wire sheathing.

A particular challenge for this project is that, rather than being installed under ground, cables will be carried by pipe racks mounted around 20m above the ground.

In view of the long lengths of cable being supplied, this method of installation will call for Nexans’ specialised cable-pulling machinery to ensure that the cables are pulled into position with the careful handling essential to avoid excessive and potentially damaging stresses.

Installation of the cables is expected to be complete by 2012.

The cables will be manufactured at Nexans’ plant in Charleroi, Belgium, and the accessories will be provided by the company’s facility in Cossonay, Switzerland.

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