Petrobras foresees BRL 405 billion in last-plan investments under Bolsonaro


In its last strategic plan under the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government, Petrobras foresees investments of US$ 78 billion (R$ 405.6 billion) in five years and reinforces its focus on the exploration of large pre-salt reserves, no longer side businesses such as refining or renewable energies.

The plan, however, will be reviewed by the Lula government, which wants a more integrated Petrobras, with the resumption of investments in refineries and preparing for the energy transition, and was released this Wednesday (30) only to comply with legal formalities.

The document continues the strategy adopted by the management of Petrobras since the first president under Bolsonaro, Roberto Castello Branco, which accelerated the sale of assets of the state-owned company and favored the payment of high dividends to shareholders.

The plan, says the company, “demonstrates Petrobras’ commitment to being a company focused on generating value, with the capacity to invest, create jobs, pay taxes and distribute its earnings to society and its shareholders”.

“The company follows the trajectory of being an increasingly healthy, solid and resilient company, contributing to the generation of reliable and efficient energy and to an environmentally sustainable world.”

The volume of planned investments is 15% higher than the previous plan, announced at the end of 2021. In addition to this amount, the company expects to spend another US$ 20 billion (R$ 140 billion) on platform rentals.

Of the total planned investments, 83% would be earmarked for exploration and production. The areas of refining and gas and energy, with 12%. Another 2% would be spent on marketing and logistics and 3% on corporate expenses.

The plan provides for a 19% increase in oil and gas production between 2023 and 2027, one of the only values ​​that should not undergo major changes under Lula, as projects of this type take years to start operating.

At the end of the plan, the state-owned company’s production will be 3.1 million barrels of oil equivalent.

To support the investments, the company’s management counts on the sale of between US$ 10 billion (R$ 52 billion) and US$ 20 billion (R$ 104 billion) in assets, another number that will be reviewed by the PT management, which has already announced that it wants the company back in sectors that are currently for sale.

The Lula government’s transition team has already asked Petrobras’ management to suspend processes for the sale of assets that have not yet reached the stage of imposing penalties for the state company’s retreat. Two of them, at an advanced stage, were completed this Wednesday, according to the state-owned company.

The first is the sale of the Manaus refinery to the Atem group. The contract had been signed in August 2021, but the operation still depended on approvals by regulatory bodies. The deal earns Petrobras US$ 257.2 million (R$ 1.3 billion).

“The entire process took more than three years to complete and strictly followed the company’s Divestment Systematics, having been approved by all instances of Petrobras’ corporate governance,” the company said in a statement.

The second was the sale of 5% of the Búzios field, the largest in the country, to the Chinese Cnooc, which already had a similar percentage of the contract —acquired in the first pre-salt auction, held in 2013 by the Dilma Rousseff (PT) government.

The operation is the result of a purchase option exercised by a subsidiary of Cnooc in September 2022 and earned the state-owned company R$ 10.3 billion. After the sale, Petrobras will own 85% of the project. Another 5% comes from Cnooc.

The coordinator of the transition team, Maurício Tolmasquim, said that Petrobras’ direction was “collaborative”. The meeting, however, ended with no decision on the sale of assets or on the change in command of the company.

This Wednesday, Tolmasquim said at an event in Rio de Janeiro that the decision to review the business plan will be taken by Petrobras’ new command, not yet appointed by President Lula. “They will analyze it, see if they are in agreement and, if not, they will make another plan.”

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