Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bolsonaro ousts Petrobras boss after fuel price hikes



Bolsonaro ousts Petrobras boss after fuel price hikes

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
President Jair Bolsonaro has long criticised the pricing policy of Petrobras, which has set severe increases in line with the international price of crude oil. AFP

Bolsonaro ousts Petrobras boss after fuel price hikes

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro decided on Monday to replace the president of state-owned oil giant Petrobras, Joaquim Silva e Luna, amid strong pressure due to recurrent increases in fuel prices.

The information, leaked by the Brazilian press, was confirmed in the evening by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, which proposed economist Adriano Pires, a specialist in the oil and gas field, as the new candidate for the job.

The appointment must be approved by the Petrobras board of directors next April 13, the ministry said.

Bolsonaro had appointed Silva e Luna, an Army reserve general, in February last year, also dissatisfied at that time with the constant price increases applied by the company.

The ultra-right-wing president has long criticised the pricing policy of Petrobras, which has set severe increases in line with the international price of crude oil.

But the increases have fueled inflation, hitting Bolsonaro’s popularity hard ahead of his reelection bid in October.

In early March, Petrobras upped the price of gas by 18.8 per cent and diesel by 24.9 per cent, citing the “worldwide increase in the price of oil and its derivatives as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine.”

Petrobras shares fell 2.63 per cent at the close of trading on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange on Monday.

Economist Alex Agostini, from the Austin Rating consulting firm, said the changes in company management are “a sign that something is wrong.”

“But for the market it is not going to change much. If it is confirmed that the new president will be Adriano Pires, a specialist in the oil and gas area, this will bring stability” because he will hardly intervene in Petrobras’ pricing policy, Agostini explained to AFP.

Pires had previously worked as an adviser to the general director of the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels. He is also the founder and director of the Brazilian Center for Infrastructure (CBIE), a consulting firm specializing in energy.

He has also expressed support for Petrobras’s pricing policy.

In an interview with CNN Brazil after the early March increase, Pires said that “there was no way for Petrobras not to raise prices, because the price gap between the internal and external markets was too big.”

“That gap was starting to cause a risk of shortages in Brazil,” he said. “The country imports 30 per cent of what is consumed of oil derivatives. If the gap is too big, nobody imports and stocks were already running out.”

Petrobras closed 2021 with a record profit of 106.67 billion reais ($19.88 billion).

According to the latest survey by the Datafolha consulting firm, conducted in March, 75 per cent of Brazilians believe that the government has “a lot” or “some” responsibility for the surging inflation.

The same survey indicates Bolsonaro would lose in an eventual second round against leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro