Petrobras CEO, directors resign

Petrobras CEO Maria das Gracas Foster and five directors stepped down from their posts on Wednesday (4 February) following months of scandals.

Gracas Foster has been at the helm of the national operator since 2012, and spent over 30 years with Petrobras. Neither Gracas Foster nor the five directors have been accused of any wrongdoing related to the federal investigation into a bribery scandal plaguing the company, according to the Associated Press.

Gracas Foster famously worked her from the Brazilian favelas to the top of Petrobras. She started as a college intern and eventually served as the head of other Petrobras subsidiaries. She also previously served as the Ministry of Mines and Energy's secretary for Oil, Natural Gas and Renewable Fuels from January 2003 to September 2005.

News of the resignations comes the same day that Fitch Ratings dropped Petrobras’ debt rating from BBB to BBB-, placing the company on its Rating Watch Negative. Fitch Ratings also attributed the review to the potential impact of the corruption investigations on production growth, since it may affect negotiations with suppliers and equipment availability, delaying de delivery of production platforms.

Moody’s also dropped Petrobras’ credit rating down on 29 January due to the corruption investigation.

Despite the corruption investigation, for Petrobras Wednesday was business as usual. The company announced a new oil find in concession BM-C-35, in the Campos Basin post-salt.

The discovery was made at the 1-BRSA-1289-RJS well (also known as Basilisco), which is 143km from Armação dos Búzios on the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, at 2214m water depth.

Petrobras said the accumulations consist of heavy oil and can be found in two different reservoir depths, at 3190m and at 3521m. Petrobras operates the concession (65%) along with supermajor BP (35%). 

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