'Brazil oil giant to have difficult 2013'

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 06, 2013 07:40 hrs

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 6 (IANS) Brazilian state-run energy giant Petrobras will have a difficult 2013, mostly due to maintenance work on infrastructure, the company's CEO Maria das Gracas Foster said.

"(The year) 2013 will be a harder year than 2012, which was already extremely difficult. It is a great challenge," she said.

Foster, however, said the situation would improve in the second half of the year, when six new platforms are expected to go into operation, reported Xinhua.

"We cannot increase production now, since the conditions for that do not exist. Production will rise only in the second half of the year," Foster said.

Recent increases in fuel prices in Brazil will also help stimulate Petrobras' income, said Foster.

Petrobras' 2012 results, released late Monday, showed the company's profit last year fell 36 percent to 21.18 billion reals ($10.6 billion), the lowest annual figure since 2004.

The company attributed the low figure to fluctuations in the foreign exchange rate that depreciated the real, a greater demand for fuel which led to an increase in fuel imports, and the company's high operational costs, including 7 billion reals ($3.53 billion) in losses from dry wells.

Petrobras will not undertake any new projects this year, Foster said, with oil and gas production remaining at roughly the same level as last year or even falling by up to 2 percent in the first half of 2013, when scheduled maintenance work curbs some production.

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