Petrobras profit falls but focus to remain on oil and gas exploration

Brazilian state-controlled company Petrobras saw earnings down in the final quarter of 2023, as results were affected by the depreciation of Brent crude prices and lower oil products margins.Petrobras posted a net profit of 31 billion reais ($6.3 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2023, down 28% from a net gain of 43.3 billion reais in the same period a year earlier. Net revenues decreased 15% from 158.6 billion reais to 134.3 billion reais.

Despite the drop in quarterly earnings, Petrobras posted in 2023 its second best results in its 70-year history.The oil giant booked a net profit of 124.6 billion reais in 2023, only below the record 188.3 billion reais gain achieved in 2022.Oil production was up 1.9% in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the previous three months to 2.361 million barrels per day.

Output in the pre-salt province reached a record high of 1.937 million bpd and accounted for 82% of the total, as the P-71 and Almirante Barroso floating production, storage and offloading vessels reach plateau at the Itapu and Buzios fields, respectively.Total hydrocarbon production rose 2% in the period to 2.901 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

“We acknowledge that the energy transition will unfold gradually and, therefore, we will continue to invest in oil and gas exploration, the segment where we generate the highest returns,” said Petrobras chief executive Jean Paul Prates.Petrobras invested $3.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023 and $12.7 billion for the full year. Net debt increased 7.7% year-on-year to $44.7 billion in 2023.

Petrobras also approved the payment of 14.2 billion reais in dividends to shareholders, numbers that again were significantly lower than during the administration of Brazil’s previous president, Jair Bolsonaro.The oil company last year changed the formula for the payment of dividends to better reflect planned investments for the five-year period of its business plan.