Brazil state-controlled oil and gas multinational Petrobras, Latin America’s biggest company, announced it raked in a record net profit last year of US$ 20 billion. That figure for 2010 was 17% higher than its profit for 2009 company, executives told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro.
Higher sales of derivatives and the appreciation of the Brazilian currency, the real, against the dollar drove the increase, it said.
Sales in the last quarter of 2010 were 24% higher than those in the corresponding three months of 2009.
The company produced 2.58 million barrels of oil equivalent (oil and associated gas) per day, a 2% increase over 2009’s daily average.
In the statement to stock regulators, Petrobras said higher crude-oil production also helped to reduce costs during the quarter. In addition, domestic fuel sales volumes climbed amid heated demand from Brazilian consumers.
Despite the solid year-on-year profit growth in the fourth quarter, Petrobras failed to match the hefty gains posted by global rivals such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.
Global oil majors have shown the industry’s quick ability to recover from the global economic slowdown by passing along higher oil prices to consumers at the pump, where Petrobras has less room to maneuver.