Crisis Won’t Prevent Brazil’s Petrobras to Invest More in 2009

Petrobras's headquarters in Rio, BrazilJosé Sérgio Gabrielli, the president of state-controlled oil multinational Petrobras, said this Monday, December 22, that the company's investment in 2009 should be greater than this year's, despite the international credit crisis.

On presenting the company budget for 2008, Gabrielli recalled that the Annual Investment Budget (OAI) sent by the state-owned company to the National Congress, in August, prior to the worsening of the international financial crisis, forecasted investment of 72 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 30.3 billion).

"Faced with the new reality, the total may even be revised down, but we believe that investment in 2009 should be above the 50 billion reais to 55 billion reais (US$ 21 billion to US$ 23 billion) invested this year," he forecasted.

Gabrielli recalled, however, that this is a decision that still depends on the Board of Governors at the organization, to meet at the end of January, after having postponed from its meeting last Friday (19) the decision regarding the company's Business Plan for the 2009-2013 period, due to market uncertainty.

"Petrobras will be able to make modifications that will not cause it to cut projects. This may include an internal adjustment process and modifications to the maturity of these projects. It must be made clear that this question of investment is a decision for several years and not just one.

"The budget integrates projects that are currently under construction, in analysis or that are still in the conceptual phase. So the cutting may have no impact on the execution of these projects. It is possible to adapt," he guaranteed.

This is the second time in the current government that Petrobras should begin the year without knowing how much it will invest in the following year – the first was in 2004. Still, Gabrielli does not believe in delays in projects or in production losses in 2009.

"Production in 2009 is connected to decisions taken five years ago. In this case, if there are losses, they will only have an impact between 2013 and 2014," he explained.

ABr

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