Petrobras - Statistics & Facts

Petrobras, a Brazilian corporation headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world and the largest multinational company headquartered in Latin America. The corporation was established in 1953 in order to exert government control over oil exploration, production, refining and distribution in Brazil. Although the company’s monopoly legally ended in 1997, Petrobras still holds a large share of the country’s oil and fuel industries.

In 2018, Petrobras’ production accounted for more than 90 percent of crude oil output in Brazil. The company’s production has been reignited since 2014 with the development of exploration of the pre-salt layer. Pre-salt is a series of geological formations established by the separation of what are currently the American and African continents, and its fuel reserves are normally located in deep-sea areas, under thick layers of salt.

The largest contribution to the company’s revenue, however, comes from the refining, transportation and marketing segment. Petrobras owns 13 out of 17 of the country’s existing oil refineries, which correspond to over 98 percent of the national refining capacity. This effective control is also reflected into the fuel distribution segment - Petrobras holds the largest  market share in the Brazilian distribution segment at nearly 30 percent.

In 2014, Petrobras was involved in what was considered one of the largest scandals in Brazil’s recent history. Under an investigation named “Operation Car Wash”, prominent politicians and businessmen were charged with corruption and money laundering. Charges were filed against Petrobras’ executives for their involvement in bribes and illegal donations to political parties. The corruption was estimated to have cost the company 7.2 billion U.S. dollars. These circumstances, combined with the drop in oil prices that same year and the beginning of an economic crisis in Brazil, led the corporation’s revenue and profits to plummet between 2014 and 2015. Since then, Petrobras has been on an overall recovering trend.

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