The president of Petrobras, Pedro Parente, believes that a change in the law is necessary to make possible an agreement between Petrobras and the federal government on the exploration contract for pre-salt areas, the so-called onerous assignment.
Oil reserves were granted by the government during the capitalization of Petrobras in 2010. At the time, the Union ceded to the state-owned company the right to explore 5 billion barrels of the pre-salt in exchange for shares of the company.
The contract, however, provided for the renegotiation of the values agreed years later so that it was adjusted according to the oscillations of the oil price.
Petrobras believes it has a credit to receive – the oil price has dropped since then. The account of how much the Union would have to reimburse Petrobras is still being made.
It happens that, at this moment, the government tries to close the gap in the accounts and could not afford to pay any amount to pay Petrobras.
The output that has been studied is to make this payment with oil. Petrobras is interested in this model. But for it to work well, Parente argues that legislation needs to be changed.This is because Petrobras also has a process of adjustment in its accounts in order to reduce its high indebtedness – it is by far the most indebted petroleum company in the world.
And to transform the additional oil paid by the Union in cash, the state company would need to invest more than expected in its extraction.
But the law that rules the onerous assignment does not, for example, allow a partnership with another company to be made feasible.
“The question that arises is how the government pays for this [the possible credit to Petrobras.] The most obvious solution is, as there is oil surplus, to pay us with oil.” What is the problem? Today’s law regarding onerous assignment says that the economic value can only be obtained after the oil is extracted, “.
According to Parente, this is not a complex change in legislation, but it must be remembered that Brasilia has its own time.
“The process of change is that you already know how it is … Being for the benefit of society, as is the case, should have a simple procedure, within a vision of rationality,” he said.
The president of Petrobras maintains that the change would bring benefits to the company and the country.
“We have the right and to explore our oil first. The Union, to have the benefits of that oil would have to give economic value and possibly put up for auction. But for that we need agreement from Petrobras, because we have the concession for those fields, “.
“It is important to have alternatives to give economic value [to this oil]. It would not make sense [for Petrobras] to make investments to exploit the Union’s oil,” he added.