Petrobras cuts investment by a third
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Brazilian state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro has slashed spending on a five-year investment programme by nearly a third over the next five years, the company announced.

     The cut will amount to 27 % and investment will now not exceed $55 billion. The company said the decision was taken against a background of lower prices and demand for hydrocarbons linked to the COVID pandemic. Petrobras intends to concentrate its efforts on key projects in the pre-salt zone on the Brazilian shelf in the Atlantic Ocean and sell-off unpromising assets to reduce debt.

     The company plans to spend more than 80 % of the new total — $46 billion – on exploration and production — compared to $64 billion allocated last year for those purposes. It said all investment decisions would apply to new projects deemed to be profitable at an oil price below $35 a barrel.

    A year ago, the company’s plans called for investment of nearly $76 billion for the period 2021-2024. The cutbacks will reduce its production to 2.75 million barrels per day of oil equivalent, compared to an original estimate of 2.84 million bpd this year.

    Petrobras sees production rising, however, to 3.3 million bpd of oil equivalent by 2024 and with a plateau in production forecast for 2025. A total of 80 % of production by 2025 will come from pre-salt deposits.

    Plans drawn up by the Brazilian giant call for its greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by a quarter by 2030 – in line with the most recent trends of climate change policy drawn up by world oil companies. For the moment, Petrobras has no plans to invest in renewable energy sources, but does intend to focus on decarbonisation in its future portfolios of research and development.

    Petrobras says it views investment in reducing carbon dioxide emissions as a key part of its strategy in developing its own projects. Plans call for the creation of a specific corporate department devoted to climate change.

    The company intends to sell assets worth $35 billion, including deposits, refineries and pipelines. Forecasts put the company’s overall debt at less than $60 billion for 2022. And the company said it cannot rule out a rise in production levels in the second half of the decade.

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