Apr 16, 2020
The storm that has come in the oil and gas sector will not change Petrobras’ direction. Despite the strong devaluation of the price of a barrel of oil, the president of the state-owned company, Roberto Castello Branco, guaranteed that the company will not change its position to focus its efforts on exploration and production. The executive, who participated in a webinar promoted by FGV Energia, was asked if Petrobrás would not be going in the opposite direction to that of other companies in the segment, which are seeking to diversify business and seeking to enter the renewable energy area. To which the president replied: “Petrobrás is definitely not going against anything”.
Castello Branco claims that the oil company is focusing its efforts on exploration and production to take advantage of its expertise and the high qualification of its petroleum engineers and geologists. He also recalled that the company has extensive technology for exploring ultra-deep waters. “Nobody better than Petrobras does that. We could not leave that (exploration and production) aside ”, he justified.
With respect to renewables, the executive said that he decided not to go deeply into this sector because it is a business that the company does not know. “Petrobrás has already lost a lot of money entering areas where it did not have the slightest knowledge, such as the production of palm oil and castor oil. Irresponsible adventures that resulted in clear losses for Petrobras and its shareholders ”, he recalled.
Despite the momentary lack of investment in renewables, the president of the state-owned company stated that the company is doing “homework”, seeking to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and increasing the carbon capture capacity. And, in parallel, it continues to invest in research on renewables. “We only enter the business when we think we have the competence to win in that business. We are not going to enter into a business just because it is a wave or a fashion to invest in renewables ”, he said.
As PetroNotícia highlighted yesterday, Petrobrás has a research and development project aimed at the wind generation area, in partnership with USP. The objective is to develop an advanced conceptual design of two floating systems equipped with one or more wind turbines for operation in intermediate and deep water depths. The units will have the capacity to generate electricity in the range between 5 MW and 12 MW and will be used to power subsea systems or platforms.
DISINVESTMENTS: PETROBRÁS WILL ADVANCE IN THE PLAN AND BUYERS DO NOT LOSE INTEREST
Other doubt that hung in the market was on the position of Petrobras and its divestment plan in the face of a scenario as uncertain and challenging as the current one. The coronavirus pandemic has brought world oil demand to its knees. And oil barrel prices have not reacted, despite the recent agreement by OPEC + to reduce the supply of the product.
The president of Petrobrás, however, guaranteed that the program will remain “intact” and that the assets will be sold. But he acknowledged that the process could be delayed. Castello Branco explained that some sales have already been completed, but have not yet been settled. “We are confident, given to us by buyers, that the financial settlement will take place at the time it is scheduled,” he said. “These transactions must comply with precedent conditions, such as Liquigás, which needs CADE’s approval. The buyers are firm, waiting, ”he added.
The executive also added that Petrobras is intensifying cost cuts so that it can survive in scenarios of very low oil prices. “We preserve all research projects, which are essential for leaps in efficiency and cost savings. Like, for example, the EXP 100 program, whose objective is, through the use of artificial intelligence, to reduce the probability of not finding oil in a [determined] borehole to practically zero ”. Castello Branco also recalled another program owned by the state-owned company, PROD 1000, which aims to shorten the period between the exploration phase and the start of production to 1,000 days.