Brazil’s largest oil company, Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., reduced its production outlook till 2019 as the state-run oil producer made deeper cuts to its budget amid an extended decline in oil prices and a massive domestic corruption scandal. Shares of the company fell 9.2 percent to a 12-year low following the announcement Tuesday.
Commonly referred to as Petrobras, the company slashed its investment plan for the five years through 2019 to $98.4 billion, down about 25 percent from its original budget of $130 billion announced last year. The company still plans to divest assets worth $14.4 billion this year to fund expansion plans, according to the statement.
Production target for 2020 was reduced 3.6 percent to 2.7 million barrels a day, Petrobras said in a filing. The company also said it expected Brent crude oil price — a benchmark for global oil prices — to average at $45 per barrel in 2016.
Crude oil prices have fallen about 20 percent from the beginning of this year and slipped below $30 Tuesday for the first time since 2003.
Apart from the relentless fall in oil prices, Petrobras is caught in the middle of a Brazil’s worst corruption scandal involving state law makers and company officials. An ongoing investigation into the company estimated that about $2 billion was diverted from Petrobras between 2004 and 2014 by a network of construction companies. More than 50 Brazilian politicians, including President Dilma Rousseff, were involved in the inquiry by Brazil’s federal agencies. Rousseff was cleared of any wrongdoing in October.
“All valuation methods point to a downside,” Credit Suisse analysts Andre Natal and Regis Cardoso reportedly said in a research report dated Jan. 11. “Current management seems strongly committed to deleveraging the company, but we think it won’t be easy under current market conditions.”
Analysts polled by Bloomberg also estimated that the Petrobras will have to sell $43 billion in assets in the coming years and oil prices need to recover to $80 a barrel by 2020 to justify its current equity price. The company has lost about 39 percent of its market value in the one last year in Sao Paulo's BM&F Bovespa stock market.