Petrobras posts record fuel exports despite COVID-19 crisis

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras said that it has exported a record 1.11 million tonnes of fuel oil in May, a massive 231 per cent higher than the volume exported in the same month last year, despite the COVID-19 crisis.

The record fuel exports came despite the crisis in the sector due to low prices and reduction in demand due to the pandemic, reports Efe news.

In a statement on Friday, the oil giant said the volume of oil export in May was 10 per cent more than the February figures before the pandemic led to the suspension of economic activities across the world.

“The record for exports occurs in a challenging period of the world economy with a reduction in global demand for oil and oil products caused by the pandemic,” it said in the statement.

“The strategy of diversifying the destinations of fuel oil exports is effective in capturing greater participation in the foreign market,” it said.

The increase in the exports came after the agreement between the OPEC members – the organization of which Brazil is not a member – to reduce production and adjust it to the falling global demand.

The company said it was able to increase its participation in the global market partly due to the enforcement of new global specifications for marine fuels that reduced the limit of sulfur content in crude oil from 3.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

The modification has generated a unique opportunity for Petrobras, which produces petroleum and fuel oil with low sulfur content.

According to the Brazilian state oil company, whose shares are traded on the Sao Paulo, New York, and Madrid stock exchanges, the record of exports also reflects the measure adopted by the firm to prioritize exploration and production areas more.

The management of the firm announced in May that despite the historic crisis in the sector due to the steep decline in the global demand and fuel oil prices, it maintained its goal of ending 2020 with an average production of 2.7 million barrels per day.

According to its five-year plan, Petrobras proposes to up its oil and natural gas production in Brazil up to 2.7 million BPD in 2020, 2.9 million in 2021, 3.1 million in 2022, 3.3 million in 2023 and 3.5 million in 2024.

To manage the fall in demand and global oversupply, Petrobras suspended its operations across 62 of its maritime platforms in deep water to reduce its production of around 200,000 BPD in April. But in May it increased its production.