Petrobras to Open Firm in China to Centralize Asian Operations

The CEO of Brazilian State oil company Petrobras revealed that the firm plans to create in 2024 Petrobras China, a subsidiary to centralize operations in Asia.

CEO Jean Paul Prates said in an exclusive interview with the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo that the initiative should be announced by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Brazil and China.

“Our contribution will be a Brazilian-Chinese company. The fact is that you will internationalize Petrobras,” he said. According to him, the company has already started the resumption of internationalization in 2023, with drilling activities in São Tomé and Príncipe.

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“We already had an office in China, but it was closed. The idea is to have a subsidiary that anchors all our areas in Asia, not trading (buy and sell oil), which is in Singapore, but construction, engineering, partnerships in our fertilizer and refining plants. It is a company to facilitate negotiations, a vehicle for business”, said Prates.

Petrobras opened its first office in China in 2004, during the first term of President Lula, with the aim of increasing oil exports to the Asian country. The unit, however, was closed by the Jair Bolsonaro government in 2019, in the wake of the program to reduce the international presence of Petrobras.

In the third quarter of this year, China was responsible for 40% of the state’s oil purchases, which exported 600 thousand barrels of oil daily, thus becoming the company’s main customer.

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In August of this year, Prates travelled to China to contact companies related to the energy transition. On the occasion, the state signed agreements with Chinese companies in the energy sector to continue its 2024-2028 Strategic Plan. Petrobras also signed memorandums of understanding with two Chinese banks.

“China will be a decisive partner in Petrobras’ strategy to regain global presence. We see the Chinese market as a priority in this process. We will look for opportunities and work in partnership with companies from China and other countries,” Prates said at the time.


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