The president of Petrobras, Jean Paul Prates, said on Thursday that the company is reaching its 70th anniversary "with an eye on the future", and reaffirmed the company's intention to develop new businesses in the field of renewable energy, with a focus on offshore wind, hydrogen and renewable fuels. "We're not far away from having a reality of offshore wind and hydrogen," he commented.
He highlighted the lack of regulation, which still hinders the company's efforts.
Prates was speaking at the XI Seminar on the energy matrix and security, an event promoted by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and Amcham.
On leaving the event, he told journalists that Petrobras is not holding down fuel prices at its refineries. The defense comes at a time of rising oil prices and a tightening of the global fuel market in the face of Russian export restrictions. This situation puts pressure on international prices and also on the company's prices, say experts.
In his speech, Prates confirmed that the company's next Strategic Plan, for the period 2024-2028, will have between 6% and 15% of capex directed towards decarbonization. "And it's more like 15% than 6%," said the executive.
He highlighted the new businesses that the company intends to develop, especially offshore wind energy, which could reach 23 gigawatts (GW) if all the projects registered by the company for evaluation by Ibama come to fruition.
"Our goal is to unleash renewable energies in the country, carbon capture and even hydrogen and other sources," said Prates.
He then listed the company's efforts to open up new fronts, such as the agreement with WEG to produce a national wind turbine for land, but which, due to its size, "points the way" to offshore generation.
Prates also mentioned Petrobras' efforts to measure winds in Espírito Santo, Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte, as well as the registration of projects with a total capacity of 23 GW and partnerships with other multinational oil companies, such as Equinor and Total. "We want to make all these investments with partners, state or private, but at the level of Petrobras," he said.
"We're going to offshore wind farms, which have giant, complex structures. But for us, it's 'Playmobil', much simpler," he said, comparing the activity to oil production and its mobilization of efforts, especially in deep and ultra-deep waters.
On the renewable fuels front, i.e. with a vegetable oil processor or 100% produced using vegetable oil, Prates said that by the end of this year four more refineries will have this production, including the Paulínia (SP), Duque de Caxias (RJ) and Cubatão (SP) units. By 2024, he said, renewable fuels will reach Rnest, a unit in Pernambuco.
Prates mentioned the urgent need for regulatory frameworks for offshore wind and hydrogen, which do not yet exist, but are making progress in Congress and within regulatory agencies.
According to Prates, the legislation for offshore wind will be similar to that used for oil, with payment of bonuses for maritime prisms, while that for hydrogen may have affinities with the current regulations for natural gas, also under the National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP).
In the end, as usual in his speeches, Prates said that despite the move towards renewables, the state-owned company remains an oil company, which will continue for decades to come.
"We are an oil company and will be for many years to come. We want to be one of the classic OPEC group that will be the last to extract oil," he said. At this point, he recalled that progress on the pre-salt layer has allowed oil to be produced with less associated carbon.
The president of Petrobras reaffirmed that, due to its versatility and technical capacity, Petrobras has all the technical and management conditions to lead a "just energy transition".