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Brazil’s Petrobras Hires New York’s Big Tobacco PR Firm for International Push

Frank Statement As it expands a controversial deep sea offshore sub-salt drilling program, Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled oil and gas multinational, one of the world’s biggest oil producers has sought global PR expertise. 

Against the backdrop of one of the world’s worst oil spills, BP’s ongoing Deepwater Horizon crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, oil giant Petrobras announced it was stepping up efforts to tap some of the world’s largest deposits of deep sea oil.

To deal with the media, Petrobras have contracted the PR Hill & Knowlton Agency. According to H&K the agency will work with Petrobras’ communication teams in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to plan and implement global media relations strategies to expand the firm’s international presence.

Petrobras is among the world’s largest government controlled oil companies and a leader in deep water exploration and production.

Recent media reports have suggested that this level of activity leaves the firm more exposed than any other to the risk of an accident similar to the BP disaster.

However it is thought that the search for a global PR agency predates the Deepwater Horizon incident. Rather, it is related to Petrobras’ international expansion plans – triggered by the firm finding about 380 million barrels of oil some three miles below the ocean floor off the Brazilian coast.

A competitive pitch was led out of the oil firm’s Brazilian headquarters two weeks ago.

Petrobras is preparing a US$ 25 billion rights issue to raise funds to develop its ‘pre-salt’ oilfields.

Hill & Knowlton, Inc. is a leading international communications consultancy, providing services to local, multinational and global clients. The firm is headquartered in New York, with 79 offices in 44 countries, as well as an extensive associate network.

The US PR firm is also known for having created the big tobacco’s strategy for counteracting scientific evidence linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer.

That infamous campaign began with a full-page newspaper ad called The Frank Statement which appeared in hundreds of newspapers throughout the USA in January 1954.

MP/Bzz

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