TCU: Sale of Petrobras refineries has no irregularities

(epbr) The Federal Audit Court (TCU) informed that it found no evidence of irregularities in the sale by Petrobras of the Shale Industrialization Unit (SIX) and of the Northeast Lubricants and Derivatives Refinery (Lubnor). Monitoring also included divestments from the Phil Project – Phase 2, which include the Gabriel Passos Refinery (Regap) and the Isaac Sabbá Refinery (Reman).

According to the TCU, no evidence of irregularities was found in compliance with procedures and decisions related to the Divestment Process. Petrobras negotiated with the bidder that presented the best binding offer and, due to changes resulting from this negotiation, submitted the amended conditions of sale to the participants of the binding phase through a new bidding procedure. According to the court, this process guaranteed equal conditions in the offers and the possibility of more advantageous proposals for the company.

TCU’s analysis did not identify non-compliance with internal norms and legislation related to privatizations. Therefore, the court concluded that Petrobras is correctly following the Systematic of Divestments in the process of selling SIX and Lubnor.

The national refining and logistics infrastructure is not enough to meet the country’s fuel demand, and this gap tends to increase, according to the rapporteur for the process, Minister Walton Alencar Rodrigues. To prevent the situation from getting worse, significant investments are needed to expand the company’s refining and transportation capacity.

However, Petrobras faces difficulties in carrying out these investments due to the high level of indebtedness or because it considers that other exploration areas may be more strategic. This could lead the country to depend more and more on imports of derivatives, jeopardizing the supply of fuel in several regions.

Therefore, according to the Court’s study, the sale of the refineries is in line with Petrobras’ declared objectives, which include optimizing capital allocation, focusing on more profitable projects, reducing financial leverage and reducing economic concentration in the refining sector.

This measure has the potential to end Petrobras’ effective monopoly and reduce its market power, allowing the entry of several private investors, initially through the acquisition of refineries. Subsequently, this measure will pave the way for the construction of new refineries and logistics infrastructure, representing an essential first step to attract the necessary investments and create a competitive market that will meet the future demand for fuels in the country.

The Specialized Audit Unit for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Mining was responsible for overseeing the TCU. Minister Walton Alencar Rodrigues acted as rapporteur for the process.

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