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Petrobras’ Prates Aligns Himself With Lula to Boost Shipbuilding

In World
April 19, 2024

(Bloomberg) — Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer Petrobras is getting behind President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s plans to revive shipyards as part of a wider effort to expand industrial activity in Latin America’s largest economy.

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Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Jean Paul Prates on Thursday said Brazil should have a strong naval industry to generate jobs, while also using foreign contractors. Prates said that the country is still suffering from “a polarized debate” about local content requirements after a massive pay-to-play corruption scandal known as Carwash embroiled the Rio de Janeiro-based producer back in 2014, and sent the shipbuilding industry into a tailspin.

“President Lula sees this industry as a redemption for Brazilian industry,” Prates said at an event in Rio.

Prates said that equipment demand from Petrobras is key to the future of shipbuilding in Brazil, and that the company will launch bids for a total of 38 vessels in 2024 and 2025 to expand the fleet and replace older models. The bids should lead to $2.5 billion in investments, with up to 70% of the spending to take place in Brazil, he said. Petrobras’s logistics subsidiary Transpetro will have separate tenders for 16 vessels.

Read More: Petrobras Talks With Lula to Head Off Oil Supply-Chain Crisis

The focus on domestic industry comes after Prates went through an extended period of political attacks by other members of Lula’s cabinet, who criticized him for not doing enough to support Lula’s growth agenda. Prates also proposed investing more in refining and fertilizer production. Lula supports these two industries that Petrobras’s previous management was selling off to streamline costs and boost profitability.

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