Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras said it has started the sale process for its 51% stake in the gas unit Gaspetro and for its stakes in the Merluza and Lagosta oil fields in Brazil’s Santos basin, according to a securities filing. Gaspetro is a holding company owning stakes in 19 firms that operate in the Brazilian gas distribution business.
Petrobras posted a net profit of R$40.137 billion ($9.2bn) in 2019, a 55.7% increase over the amount recorded in 2018. The figure also represents the highest nominal profit in the history of capital companies according to Economatica. In Q4 alone the net profit was R$8.153 billion – an increase of 287.87% over the same period the previous year.
Oil companies produced 3.17 million barrels per day (BPD) on average in Brazil in January, a volume 20.4% larger than seen in the same month a year earlier and an output record for the country, oil regulator ANP said. Natural gas production increased 22% over January 2019 to 138.7 million cubic meters per day on average last month, also a record.
Brazilian oil workers and oil giant Petrobras are locked in a power struggle over plans to shift focus away from non-core assets, with a federation of unions saying that 21,000 employees in 13 states (60% of the company’s workforce) are on strike indefinitely. Petrobras did not confirm those numbers but said it has been able to maintain oil and gas production levels and meet fuel demand across the country by bringing in temporary workers on emergency contracts.
Donald Trump government is ready to help Brazil design more effective oil auctions, the U.S. secretary of energy Dan Brouillette said during a visit to Rio do Janeiro. In November, Brazil tried unsuccessfully to sell the rights to four offshore oil producing zones in a process that could have fetched some 106.5 billion reais ($25.5 billion) for Jair Bolsonaro’s government. Only two areas attracted bidders, both of which were consortia led by Petrobras.
Brazil produced 1.018 billion barrels of oil in 2019, 7.78% more than the previous year, marking the first time the South American nation passed the billion-barrel mark for annual production, the national oil regulator Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustíveis (ANP) said. December also had a record of 3.106 million barrels per day, up 0.52% from the previous month and up 15.44% from December 2018.
Brazil’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, said in New Delhi that during his trip to Saudi Arabia next July he will begin discussing possible membership to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Brazil aims to become one of the top five exporters of oil in 10 years, Albuquerque said during an official visit to India where Brazilian oil exports fell 23% in 2019.
Petrobras has confirmed a 3% reduction in the price of diesel and gasoline for refineries from today. President of the National Federation of Trade in Fuels and Lubricants (Fecombustíveis), Paulo Miranda Soares, said the reduction was expected since the price of oil barrel returned to levels previous to the tension between Iran and the USA. He stressed, however, that consumers will have to wait two weeks until distributors manage the inventory.