Brazilian markets plummeted on Thursday as allegations that President Michel Temer condoned bribes to silence a key witness deflated investor optimism about the prospects for his ambitious pension and labor reform agenda.
Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras reported its largest quarterly earnings in two years as crude prices rose and the government allowed it to sell fuel at a profit in the domestic market. Petrobras posted a 4.5 billion reais net profit (US$ 1.4bn) in the January to March period, reversing a 1.25 billion reais loss (US$ 400 million) in the first three months of 2016.
Brazil's oil and gas company Petrobras shared innovations and efficiency gains related to the Libra field at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston. Petrobras revealed collaboration between Libra area partners has produced a US$13/bbl reduction to the project's breakeven price.
Brazil is poised to sharply increase oil exports this year as heavy investments spur new output and demand for its lighter crudes win more buyers, especially in China and India. Production is projected to rise 210,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, second only in the size of additional supply to the United States among non-OPEC producers.
Brazil's former president has appeared in court to deny allegations he was part of a plot to obstruct a massive corruption probe by keeping a former Petrobras executive from revealing what he knew. News media websites in Brazil published Tuesday's testimony by Lula da Silva, who told a federal court in Brasilia that he didn't even know Nestor Cervero, a former director of the State oil company.
Rising output from Brazil’s sub-salt offshore oil fields is allowing Petrobras to export record volumes of oil and import less light crude for its refineries, a senior executive said. Cláudio Mastella, executive manager for refining and natural gas logistics, said the move is helping to reduce Petrobras’ operational and logistical costs because lighter oil is easier and cheaper to refine into products like gasoline and diesel.
Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday raised its corporate credit rating on Petrobras, one notch, from B+ to BB-. The rating change does not lift Petrobras out of the non-investment grade category, but it lowers the risk from “highly speculative” to “speculative.”
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday denied reports she received financial support for her 2013 campaign from a construction conglomerate that is involved in Brazil's huge Petrobras corruption scandal. Grupo OAS is among dozens of Brazilian companies that are embroiled in a kickback scheme that is the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil's history.
Former Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista on Monday turned himself in to police in Rio de Janeiro on Monday on charges related to the Petrobras corruption scandal. He was detained shortly after arriving from New York.
Brazilian prosecutors on Thursday filed corruption charges against Decal do Brasil co-founder Mariano Marcondes Ferraz, accusing him of bribing a former executive at state-run oil company Petrobras to win contracts for Ferraz's own firm.