Petrobras to continue producing oil for the next 4 decades, says exec

(Reuters) – Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA) expects to continue to produce oil for the next four decades, while also boosting investments in renewables as it seeks to drive an energy transition, an executive said on Tuesday.

Joelson Mendes, the firm’s Chief Exploration and Production Officer, said at an event hosted by Santander that Petrobras understands global oil demand will drop in the future, but thinks there will still be room to commercialize its fossil fuels.

Mendes said the company is likely to maintain a “balanced portfolio” throughout the next decade, reconciling investments in both oil and renewable energy while keeping Petrobras’ proven reserves “roughly stable.”

“We changed our strategy a little, which was focusing only on the pre-salt,” said the executive, referring to the region of profitable offshore oilfields the state-run giant explores.

Petrobras CEO Jean Paul Prates has said multiple times the company will help drive the energy transition aspired by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but that it needs to produce oil in order to make money and pay for those investments.

Mendes on Tuesday again defended Petrobras’ controversial bid to drill a well at the mouth of the Amazon River, in an area known as the Equatorial Margin, which has been dividing Lula’s own leftist coalition.

Environmental protection agency Ibama has previously rejected Petrobras’ request, citing discrepancies in environmental studies, but the oil giant has appealed the decision.

“Our geoscientists believe that we can succeed at the Equatorial Margin,” Mendes said.

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