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.
After an arbitration hearing, around 21,000 workers at Brazil’s state-owned oil giant Petrobras (a third of total workforce) have ended a strike of nearly three weeks that left the firm scrambling to avoid a drop in production. Labor unions said they were protesting the closure of a fertiliser plant in the southern state of Parana, with around 1,000 total layoffs. Petrobras said the strike did not affect production thanks to the hiring of outsourced labour.
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.
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.
Brazil’s Petrobras hit a new production record in Q4 of ca. 2.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), which means an increase of 16.5% on average production of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) compared to the same period in 2018. Compared to the third quarter, there was a 5.7% increase. The improvement in performance was largely due to the ramp-up of platforms in the prolific pre-salt formation, says the company’s report.
Petrobras applied a price reduction on petroleum products in its refineries as of Thursday 6. The litre of gasoline will cost 4.3% less, diesel, 4.4%, S10 diesel for thermal power plants 4,6%, and marine diesel, 4.5%. Petrobras has not increased gasoline since December 1 and diesel since December 21. The accumulated fall in the year is R $ 0.02156 for gasoline and R $ 0.03236 for diesel.
Brazil’s development bank BNDES sold on Wednesday $5.2 billion in common shares it owned in state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA), the largest Petrobras offering in a decade. BNDES will send part of the profits to Brazil’s Treasury as dividends. The sale of Petrobras shares is the largest divestiture so far of the R$110 billion stock portfolio owned by the development bank.
A strike by workers at Brazil’s Petrobras started on Saturday, has not yet affected “production or supply to the market” and “all of its oil, fuel and derivatives production units are operating within safety standards,” the state-owned oil company said. Around 14,750 workers are on strike, or 80% of the total in the 12 states where the industrial action is taking place, according to Federação Única dos Petroleiros (FUP).
Markets will see R$39.5 billion ($9.3 billion) in share sales in the coming weeks, including the biggest offer since 2010, thanks to the government’s efforts to shed assets and a rush to stocks amid a hunt for returns. Development bank BNDES is leading the charge, unloading a stake worth almost R$24 billion in Petrobras, as well as shares of meatpacker JBS SA. Brazilian equity offerings rose 213% last year to R$115.1 billion.
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.