Petrobras will not lower fuel prices to help airlines

Petrobras will not lower fuel prices to help airlines
Petrobras will not lower fuel prices to help airlines
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The president of Petrobras, Jean Paul Prates: “Artificially lowering the price [do querosene de aviação] it would represent Petrobras subsidizing a sector”.| Photo: Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil

The president of Petrobras, Jean Paul Prates, said that the company will not reduce the price of aviation kerosene (QAV) to help airlines like Gol, which filed for judicial recovery a few days ago. He argues that the value of fuel has already fallen by almost 41% since last year and that companies in the sector will have “quite significant profits in 2023 compared to the previous year”.

The company was invited to participate in a federal government plan to help airlines, which should include the creation of a financing fund of up to R$6 billion. The sector is still suffering the consequences of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic from 2020 onwards.

“They called us to go there because we are the main supplier, to understand the basis of the process”, Prates, who is participating in an event with foreign investors in New York, told the newspaper “O Estado de S. Paulo”. “Within the airfare, there are several things and one of them is fuel, which, in turn, has several components, and that is where Petrobras comes in,” he said.

Fuel represents around 40% of an airline’s costs in Brazil. For Prates, however, the problem faced by airlines does not concern the company, although it can collaborate with discussions on the topic. “We went down [o preço do QAV] 30% last year and 10% this year, plus 0.5% from tomorrow [1.º de fevereiro]”, he stated in the interview, given on Wednesday (31/1).

“If there is a correlation between one thing and another, at least it would have to be at a standstill or dropping by 20%. Either there is a correlation, and that is important, or there is no correlation or it is not that important, and the problem lies elsewhere. And that’s not up to Petrobras, it’s not our role. Petrobras was invited and will participate in the meeting. It’s okay, we always collaborate,” she said.

According to him, the collaboration will be at least in the educational aspect. “No more lowering the price,” he said. “Artificially lowering the price would represent Petrobras subsidizing a sector. To do this, I would have to have a direct order complying with all the procedures and due financial compensation according to the State-Owned Companies Law,” he added.

In relation to Gol’s request for judicial recovery, the president of the oil company attributed “arrangements that concern the airline’s business, and not necessarily trying to squeeze Petrobras, the government is pushing to give a subsidy through the company”.

Last week, the Minister of Ports and Airports, Silvio Costa Filho, said he intended to discuss how to reduce the price of QAVs as part of a rescue plan for the airline sector.

“We are, in the next few days, talking to the airlines and Petrobras, we are going to advance the dialogue with President Jean Paul, so that we can, next week, effectively present a proposal”, said the minister after participating in a meeting with the Minister of the Civil House, Rui Costa, and with the president of the Brazilian Association of Airlines (Abear), Jurema Monteiro.

In November last year, Prates fell out with the Minister of Mines and Energy, Alexandre Silveira, after a public demand for a reduction in fuel prices.

On social media, the president of the state-owned company said that if the ministry wanted to “guide Petrobras on fuel prices directly”, it would be necessary to follow both the State-Owned Companies Law and the rules of the company’s bylaws.

Afterwards, Silveira said he did not understand Prates’s statements. “I did nothing more than highlight the government’s commitments to the country made with the election. I said that fuel prices are an essential part of the inflation target”, stated the minister.

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Petrobras fuel prices airlines

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