Brazil's state-run oil giant Petrobras announced on Wednesday it reduced its losses in the third quarter of the year, the company's third negative result in a row due to the global economic meltdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rio de Janeiro-based firm posted a net loss of US$ 236 million for the period from July to September, well below its losses of US$ 417 million in the second quarter and US$ 9.7 billion in the first quarter. In the third quarter of 2019, the company posted a profit of US$ 2.3 billion.
The fast response to the global recession is starting to pay off, chief executive Roberto Castello Branco said in a statement.
Despite the constraints posed by the pandemic and the uncertain environment, our operational and financial performance improved significantly as shown by the rise in oil and natural gas production, capacity utilization of our refineries and the strong cash flow generation, he said.
According to the company, third quarter losses occurred due to financial expenses, despite higher sales volumes of oil and oil by-products as well as higher Brent oil prices.
The third quarter was also marked by a recovery in demand for oil derivatives in Brazil, with 18% growth in sales volumes over the last quarter.
The recovery in diesel and gasoline sales stand out. These products were heavily affected by Covid-19 in 2Q20 and their quarterly recovery was the strongest across our portfolio, both in terms of volumes and prices, the company said.
Petrobras added that a high level of exports was maintained in the third quarter, noting that crude oil exports to China returned to pre-Covid levels.
The company was severely impacted by quarantine measures put in place due to the coronavirus crisis that caused a drop in world demand for crude. According to the company, the sector suffered its worst crisis in 100 years.