Brazil’s state-run oil firm Petrobras reported last week a record net profit for 2019, thanks to asset sales under its strategy to divest non-core operations and focus on the deepwater pre-salt region offshore Brazil.
Petrobras’s net profit jumped to US$ 10.2 billion last year from US$7.2 billion for 2018, reflecting mainly gains from asset disposals. Apart from a program to divest non-core assets, Petrobras is also sellin eight refineries as part of the divestment plan and in an agreement with regulators to open the refining market.
Last year, Petrobras sold US$16.3 billion in non-core assets, it said in its webcast presentation of the 2019 results.
The company, which is the wolrd's most indebted oil firm, reduced its gross debt by US$24 billion last year. At the end of 2019, gross debt was US$87 billion, down from US$111 billion at the end of 2018.
Total investments, including acquisition bonuses for participation in Brazil’s oil auctions, came in at US$27.4 billion. Excluding investment in bids, Petrobras invested US$10.7 billion last year, focusing on exploration in the pre-salt area and on production development.
Petrobras’s oil production averaged 2.172 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, exceeding its target production of 2.1 million bpd, with record production in the pre-salt area.
Earlier this month, Petrobras announced that it had set another production record in the fourth quarter of 2019, producing more than 3 million bpd of oil equivalent throughout the period. In Q4 2019, oil and gas production reached 3.025 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, which represents “a new landmark in Petrobras history, as we break through the 3.0 MMboed barrier in a quarter for the first time,” the company said last week.
For full-2019, Petrobras also boasted a record in oil exports, saying that “for two consecutive months, Petrobras has surpassed its record daily volume of exported oil in a single month”.