Essar group places bid for Petrobras' Bahia refinery - sourcesEssar group places bid for Petrobras' Bahia refinery - sources
The entrance of the Petrobras Alberto Pasqualini Refinery is seen in Canoas

By Carolina Mandl, Tatiana Bautzer and Sabrina Valle

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Indian conglomerate Essar Group made a binding offer to Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA to buy the country’s second largest oil refinery, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

Petrobras, as Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer is known, has received at least two offers for the 323,000 barrels per day Landulpho Alves refinery in Bahia, known as Rlam. The other is from Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company.

If Essar’s bid is successful, it would mark the group’s debut in Brazil. Essar has invested roughly $28 billion in assets in energy, infrastructure, mining and services, according to the company’s website.

It is still unclear if the third pre-qualified group, China’s Sinopec, has also delivered a bid.

In a recent note to clients, analysts from Bradesco BBI valued the RLAM refinery, based in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, at $2.5 billion.

According to Petrobras’ asset sale rules, the top bidder must enter into an extended round of negotiations, usually lasting several weeks, to finalize contract terms. Depending on the outcome, it may require a final round of bidding which could potentially change the result of the competition, a third source said.

Petrobras declined to comment. Essar did not immediately reply a Reuters request.

(Reporting by Carolina Mandl and Tatiana Bautzer, in Sao Paulo, and Sabrina Valle, in Rio de Janeiro, Additional reporting by Paula Laier, Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)