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Q&A: Petrobras’ Prates sees drawn-out transition – Argus

High expectations: Petrobras chief executive Jean Paul Prates (Scanpix/Reuters)
High expectations: Petrobras chief executive Jean Paul Prates (Scanpix/Reuters)

Stephen Cunningham, Argus Media

Energiesnet.com 02 06 2024

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras’ chief executive, Jean Paul Prates, met with investors in New York last week. He spoke to Argus’ Stephen Cunningham about output plans, the energy transition and Opec+. Edited highlights follow:

What is your message for Wall Street?

Petrobras is a super nice ship, going into the troubled waters of the energy transition, oil crisis and everything, but it’s well positioned to face all that. Being a state-controlled company in Brazil has more advantages than disadvantages.

Petrobras forecasts its output rising to 3.2mn boe/d in 2028. Is that a plateau?

It could be but I cannot be affirmative because we intend to have new frontiers coming up and new reserves being incorporated — either on the Equatorial Margin or even in the south, where we just acquired 29 blocks at Pelotas basin. Also, we have the revitalisation of some of the Campos basin fields and some floating production, storage and offloading units coming in. Of course, one of these days we will reach the peak of Petrobras and this is what we have to be prepared for, because we are going to be phasing out very slowly and very wisely and phasing in new technologies, new energies, etc. That will happen in the next 30-40 years.

What is Brazil’s relationship with Opec+?

Being in the charter co-operation of Opec+ means listening to their meetings, having access to their data and meeting with them. There is no joining Opec+. There is no appliance of quotas or limitations that affect Brazil or Petrobras.

What is your approach to the energy transition?

We have to do something because we’ve been stuck for almost 10 years with practically no projects in renewables or new energies. We are not deviating that much by going into new frontiers, because all we’re doing is building out our capacities and our knowledge to do almost the same as we do with less carbon content. To the ones that criticise the fact that we’re still going into oil, we have to say that, unfortunately, we have to — this is what’s going to pay for the rest.

How quickly can the world wean itself off oil as environmentalists hope?

Changes like these are not done by one generation only. Sometimes you want to see your future immediately. And this is not that simple.

Have you ruled out solar and wind projects overseas?

We don’t exclude international possibilities. But we are looking first at the opportunities that are being offered in Brazil.

Upstream, are you looking at Venezuela? Or Guyana?

There could be opportunities — [Venezuela] has enormous reserves. If there was the possibility of acquiring rights there, that we consider good and we could recuperate in terms of the production assets, we could analyse it. But this has not started yet. [In Guyana], most of the good areas, to my knowledge, are occupied already. We may have proposals from people that already have acreage.

Do you face pressure from shareholders to push up dividends?

No. The shares went up 100pc since we came into office. Petrobras shareholders are long-term investors, they want to be secure. They are pension funds, sovereign funds, that want to be sure that Petrobras will still exist 200 years ahead.

Petrobras production
Petrobras production
Petrobras NYSE share performance

argusmedia.com 02 05 2024

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