UPDATE 2-Venezuela's PDVSA has $400 mln for Brazil refinery

* PDVSA has some cash ready, needs financing for rest

* Venezuelan firm estimates total cost at $12 billion (Adds energy minister)

CARACAS, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA said on Tuesday it had an initial contribution of $400 million ready for a joint venture refinery with Brazil's Petrobras PET4.SA.

Petrobras and PDVSA aim to construct and operate the 230,000 barrel-per-day Abreu Lima refinery in Brazil’s northeast Pernambuco state.

PDVSA refinery chief Asdrubal Chavez told reporters the total cost estimate had risen to about $12 billion, of which Venezuela’s share was 40 percent.

“Venezuela has its first contribution ready, about $400 million which we will hand over when the financing part of the project is structured,” he said.

Petrobras has put the total cost at more than $13 billion and said the expected start-up date for the refinery would be April 2012. [ID:nN02345886]

The initial cost estimate was nearer $4 billion.

PDVSA says it will receive financing from Brazil’s BNDES development bank for its share.

“We’re working, advancing, but it’s in the hands of the bankers at the moment,” Energy Minister and PDVSA President Rafael Ramirez told reporters.

“BNDES is financing all the project.” (Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne)