Next Petrobras CEO announces he will change the company’s fuel pricing policy

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BRASILIA — The new chief executive of Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras said on Friday he planned to change the country’s fuel price policy, but said investors need not worry.

President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday named Senator Jean Paul Prates as the next CEO of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the company’s official name. Lula tweeted that Prates would « lead the company into a great future ».

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Prates told reporters he would change the company’s pricing policy, which pegs fuel to world oil prices, but stressed that this does not mean prices will be completely decoupled from the international market.

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« Petrobras’ pricing policy will be changed, but not necessarily to traumatize investors, » he said. « It will change because the politics of the country will change. »

The company’s pricing policy was at the center of the turmoil under President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration. Three of Petrobras’ CEOs were ousted during his tenure as fuel price hikes fueled inflation and hurt his popularity.

Prates, a prominent voice on energy policy in Lula’s leftist Workers’ Party (PT), was already seen as a strong contender for the Petrobras job after being named to the transition team group for the mining and energy. He is expected to steer the company away from its focus of deepwater drilling towards renewable energy.

After Prates’ takeover of the company, which he says is expected to take place in mid-January, he will present the company’s plans in detail to the Petrobras board and to Brazilian society in general. .

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« I see Petrobras as a company that must look to the future and invest in the energy transition to meet the needs of the country, the planet and society, in addition to the long-term interests of its shareholders, » said Prates.

He had previously said that the new government had no intention of causing a « breakdown » of Petrobras.

Previously, Lula hired Tarciana Medeiros as head of Banco do Brasil SA and Rita Serrano as CEO of Caixa Economica Federal, fulfilling his pledge to appoint two women to head public lenders. (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Gabriel Araujo, Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Josie Kao)


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