New Petrobras CEO Says to Drive Energy Shift while Expanding Oil and Gas

(Reuters) The new chief executive of Petrobras told employees the oil company will drive Brazil’s transition to renewable energy, while keeping its oil and gas expansion on track.

The first remarks by Jean Paul Prates as CEO, in a video to employees, mark a strategy shift for the state-run firm, which has spent the last few years divesting assets to focus on its most profitable offshore oil fields and boosting dividends.

Former senator Prates, who took over as CEO on Thursday after being selected by Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, said the new outlook for Petrobras is the result of an urgent global demand to mitigate climate change.

“The size and trajectory of Petrobras means that it naturally occupies the role of major driver of Brazil’s energy transition,” Prates said in the video sent on late Thursday.

Still, he vowed that Petrobras will continue to excel in oil and gas production, while seeking new frontiers for exploration.

Prates cited a stretch of Brazil’s northern coast as promising for both petroleum exploration and renewable energy.

“We will work so that Petrobras continues its journey in the oil and gas industry, but also walks new paths pursuing decarbonization, accelerating profitable diversification and a fair energy transition,” he said in the video, which he shared.

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