Petrobras, Equinor stake out opposite renewables strategies in Brazil

 (Reuters) – Petrobras does not expect to invest in renewables over the next five years, Chief Executive Roberto Castello Branco said on Tuesday, adding that the Brazilian state-controlled company will instead put money into technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of its oil extraction activities.

Castello Branco has repeatedly said Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, has no comparative advantage in renewable energy and that many environmental targets put forward by its European competitors are fanciful.

His latest comments, made during a presentation to analysts and investors, also contrasted sharply with an address made by Equinor ASA CEO Anders Opedal to a Brazilian oil conference earlier in the day, in which he said the company was scouting out offshore wind opportunities throughout the South American nation.

In those comments, made during the biennial Rio Oil & Gas conference, Opedal made reference to a 2018 memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Equinor and Petrobras to pursue offshore wind projects in Brazil.

So far, that MOU has not resulted in any potential projects – and it appears unlikely to.

“We do not expect to invest a dollar in renewables over the next five years,” Castello Branco said, while discussing the company’s updated five-year business plan.

In that same presentation, which was not part of Rio Oil & Gas, Castello Branco said that Petrobras is likely to sell a clutch of offshore natural gas pipelines via an initial public offering in the third quarter of 2021. He added that his estimate could change, in part because the potential IPO requires an agreement with other stakeholders in the pipes.

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