Petrobras unveils its 2024-2028 action plan: greener and with greater interest in China

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The Brazilian state-owned oil company, Petr贸leo Brasileiro S.A., better known as Petrobras, released its action plan and required budget for the period 2024-2028, with a projected investment of US$ 102 billion. 

Of this projection, the amount earmarked for the exploration and production segment amounts to US$ 73 billion, which corresponds to 72% of the total budget, according to the national media Agencia Brasil. However, Petrobras has been one of the state-owned companies showing its interest in the national energy transition project, which is why they created a new board of directors to oversee its work in energy transition and renewable energies.

For this reason, 9% of this investment budget will be allocated to gas and low-carbon energy; that is, US$ 11.5 billion, which represents double the resources proposed for the previous period.

This change could be driven by the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, after the oil price crisis during 2021 and 2022, which cost the company the dismissal by former President Jair Bolsonaro of three of its CEOs.

Additionally, it is worth noting that the new CEO of Petrobras, Jean Paul Prates, was recently recognized by the international energy magazines Recharge and WindPower, as one of the three most influential people in the renewable energy sector in Brazil, one of the 50 most important in the global energy sector and one of the 25 exponents of the global wind energy industry, according to the Argentine media M谩s Energ铆a.

This previous crisis, together with the current national agenda towards energy transition and the profile of the company’s new director, seem to indicate a renewed interest in exploring these new alternatives, as reflected in the budget.

However, at the same time they seem to face certain contradictions, as despite the approval of this new, more environmentally friendly budget, they are also pushing for permission to drill in the Foz do Amazonas basin, a project that is still awaiting an environmental license and has proved controversial due to its potential threats to a sensitive and biodiverse area of the Amazon, as investigative journalist Paula Bianchi explains in the London-based Di谩logo Chino.

Petrobras is also looking to expand and create a subsidiary in China, its largest export partner, since China accounted for 40% of its oil exports in the third quarter of 2023, and Jean Paul Prates described China as “a decisive partner in Petrobras’ strategy to recover its global presence”.

For this reason, agreements were signed with state-owned companies CNOOC and Sinopec to collaborate in the energy sector, specifically in oil exploration. Chinese investments in renewable energies are also mentioned, which also allows us to assume that closer ties with the Asian country’s companies would give Petrobras the opportunity to gain experience in these lessons learned.