“Petrobrás are slicing up”: understand the strategy of

The second largest company in the country is not owned by a businessman, but by the State and the Brazilian population. With an annual income of approximately R$50 billion, Petrobras has always been coveted by national and international owners. But her popularity among Brazilians ensured that she remained Brazilian.

A survey by Revista Fórum, from July 2020, showed, for example, that 57% of Brazilian citizens do not want its privatization. However, a strategy of “selling by the edges”, as the oil tanker Felipe Pinheiro claims, began to take shape at least six years ago.


To understand slicing, it is necessary to know how the oil extraction chain and the production of its derivatives work.

It all starts with the extraction, which is generally carried out on offshore oil platforms, according to information supplied by Petrobrás.

Once extracted, the oil is sent to refineries, where it will be distilled, converted and treated. It is the refineries that transform crude oil into diesel, gasoline, aviation kerosene, gas, lubricants and other products.

In the case of fuel, they are now delivered to distributors, who will deliver them to gas stations. The last phase is the sale to the final consumer.

The sale of the refineries will bring losses mainly in relation to fuel prices.

(Felipe Pinheiro, director of Sindipetro-MG)

Until recently, Petrobras owned the entire chain, from extraction to sale. However, this large company was being divided into: platforms, refineries, distributors and gas stations, among other assets such as PBio (a biofuel producer, which is at risk of being sold, including the Montes Claros plant) and gas carriers .

Thus, privatization is taking place little by little, so as not to create a big problem with the opinion of the Brazilian population.

sales in numbers

It is estimated that, only during the pandemic, the government offered for sale all or part of the shares of 53 fields, 39 platforms, 13 thousand kilometers of gas pipelines, 124 gas stations, 12 electricity generation units and eight processing units of natural gas.

The survey was carried out by the Unified Oil Workers Union of SP, reporting by Guilherme Weimann, based on teasers released by the company in the period.

The Petrobrás Social Observatory page, which analyzes and discloses the company’s sales movements, indicates that the main privatizations in 2021 were the sale of 34% that Petrobras still held in BR Distribuidora, for R$ 11.36 billion; the Landulpho Alves RLAM Refinery, in Bahia, for R$9.33 billion; Gaspetro, for R$ 2 billion; and the sale of Polo Alagoas for R$1.5 billion.

BR stations in the hands of foreigners

The sale of BR Distribuidora meant the sale of the fuel distribution chain and all BR gas stations. Petrobras held 37% of the shares, which were all sold, ending its stake in the company. After this sale, 43% of BR’s owners are foreigners.

According to the Petrobras Social Observatory, in six years, from 2015 to July 2021, the sale of Petrobras assets resulted in R$231.5 billion. The biggest buyers of the assets were companies from Canada, France, Brazil and Norway. The United States, Japan and the United Arab Emirates have also played a relevant role in the privatization.

Refineries may have a monopoly on gasoline

Oil tanker Felipe Pinheiro, a Petrobras worker for 13 years and currently director of the Minas Gerais Oil Workers Union (Sindipetro-MG), analyzes that the sale of the Gabriel Passos Refinery, Regap, headquartered in Betim (MG), is of concern to Minas Gerais. ).

The refineries treat the oil and produce the fuels, having the function of distributing the product in their region.

“The sale of the refineries will bring losses mainly in relation to fuel prices. Each refinery is being sold to a company, which will have a regional monopoly, will be the only one to produce fuel in the region, and will be able to set the price that it wants”, assesses the oil tanker.

Regap is among eight refineries that the government wants to sell by December 31, 2021, along with its 500 kilometers of pipeline that transport oil from the sea to Betim.

Source: BoF Minas Gerais

Edition: Elis Almeida

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