After the disclosure of Petrobras’ record profit, of more than 3,000% in the first quarter, the company’s president, José Mauro Coelho, said that the company will continue to follow market prices as a way of “generating wealth for society and avoiding shortages”. of fuels in the country”.
According to experts, the risk of a fuel readjustment is high, which Petrobras has not practiced since March 11, due to the lag in prices in relation to the values charged on the international market.
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Data from Abicom, which represents the importers, point out that on Friday the average lag for diesel was 21% (R$ 1.27 per liter) and for gasoline, at 17% (R$ 0.78 per liter). Modal’s report highlighted that there is a risk of new readjustments due to the constant increase in these lags.
In recent weeks, representatives of importers have also signaled that the lag in prices may lead to a lack of fuel in some parts of Brazil.
On Friday night, a survey by the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) showed that the price of gasoline rose for the fourth week in a row. The average value of a liter went from R$ 7,283, last week, to R$ 7,295, this week, marking a new average record level in retail. It’s up 0.16%.
Since January, the advance is 9.37% at pumps. The maximum price of gasoline sold in Brazil returned to the historic level of R$ 8,999 – in Santa Catarina.
This Friday, during the presentation of the state-owned company’s financial results in the first quarter, the president of Petrobras, José Mauro Coelho, said that the company cannot deviate from the practice of market prices.
“It is a necessary condition for the generation of wealth not only for the company, but for the entire Brazilian society, fundamental for attracting investments from the country and for guaranteeing the supply of derivatives that Brazil needs to import”, he said.
In accordance with its pricing policy, Petrobras transfers to the amount charged at the refinery fluctuations in the dollar and barrel of oil quotations. The transfer to the final consumer also depends on other variables, such as distribution margin and taxes.
Coelho recalled that Brazil is an importer of several derivatives such as diesel, LPG (bottle gas), gasoline and aviation kerosene (QAV). On Thursday, before the results were released, Jair Bolsonaro criticized the state-owned company’s profit, less than a month after dismissing the company’s then president, Joaquim Silva e Luna:
“Petrobras’ profit is greater with the crisis. This is an inadmissible crime.”
Asked during the press conference, Coelho said that Bolsonaro’s concern about the increase in fuel prices in the country is legitimate.
“The President of the Republic, President Bolsonaro, is legitimately concerned about higher fuel prices. This rise in prices happens all over the world and is a concern of all government leaders. But, on the other hand, due to the duty of due diligence, Petrobras managers must act in line with the company’s current pricing policy.”
Despite pressure from Bolsonaro, Coelho recalled, however, that “at some point, readjustments must be made”:
“Petrobras is not insensitive to Brazilian society, especially at atypical times, such as the conflict in Eastern Europe, which affects energy markets, especially diesel. And Petrobras, concerned about this, has been monitoring oil prices market, not passing on this volatility immediately, but, of course, at some point, readjustments must be made so that we can maintain the company’s financial health.”
Asked about the risks of shortages, Cláudio Mastella, director of Commercialization and Logistics at the state-owned company, said that the company sees the scenario today “with caution”. He recalled that the company has reinforced its operations abroad, such as in Houston, Rotterdam and Singapore.
“The market is served by several companies. We have no visibility of the other agents. We view the current scenario with caution due to the low inventories of diesel in storage tanks (overseas) — he said.”, We are keeping in touch with global chains. This allows you to monitor the flows. We seek to anticipate risk.
Mastella also stressed that he awaits “the stabilization of the lag to implement changes” in prices. Rafael Chaves, director of Institutional Relations and Sustainability at the state-owned company, stated that Petrobras practices market prices.
“There are only two options: either it is a market price, which is a democratic way of passing information between buyers and sellers and balancing supply and demand, or it is a fixed price. too. And it’s a solution that doesn’t work,” he said.
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Chaves reiterated that the state-owned company “defends market prices”:
“That’s what the legislation requires and that’s what guarantees the mitigation of market shortage risks. It’s important to respect market prices.”
According to Coelho, there is no significant relationship between Petrobras’ results and the readjustment in fuel prices:
“To have an idea, 80% of the gains in the period came from oil exploration and production activities. And only 20% from all other segments. This is an important point”, he said, highlighting the cost reduction and efficient management.
Coelho defended the state-owned company’s profit, noting that other oil companies also recorded gains in the first quarter of this year:
“The increase in the price of oil around the world has been reflected in the increase in profits of all the big oil companies in the world.”
The president of Petrobras recalled, in his presentation of results, that the state-owned company will continue with the business plan that had already been established by the company before its arrival at the state-owned company, last month:
“We will remain committed and adherent to the strategy outlined in our strategic plan.”
When citing the emphasis on the pre-salt, he recalled the continuity in the sale of assets:
“This allows other companies to develop other features.”