Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, is considering the possibility of resuming operations in Venezuela, encouraged by Chevron Corp’s successful re-engagement in the oil-rich nation, according to Chief Executive, Jean Paul Prates.
Prates highlighted the strategic importance of expanding into neighbouring countries like Venezuela and Bolivia, both of which hold significant untapped potential in the oil and gas sector, on a televised interview. Prates specifically noted the opportunities for natural gas in Bolivia.
Notably, there was no mention of Guyana, Brazil’s neighbour, where ExxonMobil has found over 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent since 2015. Petrobras had expressed interest in participating in Guyana’s recently concluded offshore licensing round but opted not to.
But Prates issued a word of caution about Venezuela, acknowledging that its oil industry has experienced a severe downturn. He emphasized that Petrobras would not bear the sole responsibility for revitalising Venezuela’s oil sector.
Historically, Venezuela has been a major global player in the oil and gas industry, boasting the world’s largest proven oil reserves. Yet, years of economic and political turmoil have led to a decline in its oil production and infrastructure.
Petrobras is exploring international expansion due to challenges in discovering new oil fields in Brazil. It foresees a potential decline in domestic oil production by the end of the decade, unless substantial new reserves are found.
In addition to Venezuela and Bolivia, Prates mentioned other potential investment destinations, including Suriname and Namibia in the South Atlantic. He also emphasized China’s role as a significant partner in both traditional oil projects and the global energy transition. Petrobras is eyeing collaborations with Chinese companies to develop offshore wind and green hydrogen initiatives in Brazil.
Furthermore, Petrobras is actively considering the establishment of a subsidiary in China, indicating its commitment to strengthening ties with one of the world’s leading energy markets.