This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.
On their own words Petrobras is “an integrated energy company that performs in a profitable manner with social and environmental responsibility”. Petrobras is a semi-public owned company headquartered in Rio de Janeiro. It has presence in more than 27 countries and is listed in a several number of Stock Exchanges around the world. It has almost 70.000 employees. It has more than 100 production platforms and more than 8.000 service stations. It is the biggest company in Brazil and the third in Latin America.
- Former CEO and President - Henri Philippe Reichstul (1999-2001)
- 1 Company History
- 2 Political and Public Influence
- 3 Corporate Accountability
- 4 Business Scope
- 5 Governance
- 6 Contact Information
- 7 Articles and Resources
The company is born in 1953 during the government of Getúlio Vargas. Between 1953 and 1997 the company remains being publicly owned. In 1997, however, the company opens its doors to private investors and initiatives making it no longer a publicly owned company. At that same time the Brazilian government decides to create two very important institutions: The National Petroleum agency and the National council of Energy Policies. The first one begins to supervise the entire energy sector and the second to formulate energy policies. Since that moment Petrobras begins a very fast growing around the world by making big advances and innovations. In 2005, for instance, the company announces the firm of a very important contract with a Japanese company to create a joint venture that would enable to pass ethanol from Japan to Brazil.
Political and Public Influence
The company publishes a very complete summary of its corporate governance structure as well as its social and environmental programs. According to the company, Petrobras is helping and participating on the following projects:
1. It is listed In the Dow Jone´s global sustainability index
2. The company is part of the Global Compact´s Board.
3. Petrobras is associated to the World Business council for Sustainable Development.
4. It is partner of the United Nations Children´s Fund (UNICEF)
However the company has been involved in a several number of controversies.
12 Agust 2008: “Petrobras: Peope vs Profit” 
This article assures that Petrobras has been trying to begin operations in zones where indigenous communities have traditionally live. The article affirms that these kinds of companies (multinational companies) don’t care about traditions or cultural meanings. They just care about profit and money. The author affirms that Petrobras has been trying to extract petroleum from the Yasuní National Park where a very old indigenous tribe lives. These communities have turned to many justice stages in order to protect their rights, culture and traditions.
8 September 2008: “Brazilians Indians slam oil company over uncontacted tribes” 
According to this article, a group of Brazilians Indians assured that Petrobras (a Brazilian oil company) was planning to explore for oil in the territory of uncontacted tribes in Peru. According to them that action would be a contradiction with the environmental principles and values that the company proclaims and defend. On the Indian´s opinion this fact demonstrates, again, the low interest that this multinational company has on helping to the sustainable development.
March 2008: “La petrolera más sustentable del mundo” 
This article reports that Petrobras has been chosen as the most sustainable oil company of the world. The recognition was a result of a study published by Management and Excellence.
22 September 2008: “Petrobras to return Amazon oilfield to Ecuador” 
This article is about a decision that the Ecuador´s government took in terms of a license that Petrobras had to extract petroleum in a specific zone of Ecuador. According to the article the company “has clashed with Ecuador over taxes” so the Ecuador´s government decided to retire the license. In addition a considerable number of environmentalists said that an oil activity on the zone would produce negative effects to rare tropical species of Jaguars and dolphins. The company said that it would obey the decision and it would continue with its investment on the country.
4 August 2000: “Brazil Petrobras says river oil spill was human error” 
This article is about the measures that the multinational announced as a result of a gigantic spill that occurred in the Uguaco River. According to the article “a broken pipeline oozed 1 million gallons of crude down” to the River. The spill, off course, contaminated ecological reserves. The company said it was a human error and announced that it had fired 2 senior superintendents and suspended other three.
July 2000: “Brazil: Petrobras fined R$50mil for environment mismanagement” 
This article announces that a fine of R$50mil was imposed to Petrobras as a result of the oil leak that occurred on June 27, 2000. The oil was being transported by a ship that worked for the company when the oil was poured deliberately, affirms the article. The municipal environment bureau also punished the company with a R$500mil fine.
7 December 2004: “Brazil Amazon Pipeline work to start in January” 
This article reports that the construction of a new pipeline that would cross the Brazilian jungles is going to be constructed. According to the article Patrobras would give 20% of the cost of the project. A considerable number of environmentalists had affirmed that the project “could accelerate Amazon deforestation and the disintegration of indigenous communities”.
25 February 2005: “Petrobras to appeal $180 min oil spill ruling” 
The article affirms that Petrobras is going to appeal a decision taken by a State Court in Brazil. The decision was in favor of a fisherman federation of Rio De Janeiro. According to the article Petrobras would have to pay US $180 million to the fisherman federation as a result of a spill of 340.000 gallons of petroleum that affected the federation considerably.
19 October 2001: “Damaged Petrobras Ship leads naphtha in Brazil”
The article reports a new incident with Petrobras´s ships. This time the ship was carrying 22 million liters of naphtha and it was estimated that more than 5 million liters has leaked. According to the article more than 7.000 people were at risk in and around the port area.
Financial Information (as of DATE)
Financial information of the company is available on the following webpage:
The members of the board of directors as well as the most important executives of the company can be consulted on the following webpage:
A message can be sent on the following webpage:
Articles and Resources
Books on the Company
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