How Petrobras emerged from crippling debt to record profits

Petrobras headquarters

This week, Brazil’s state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras recorded the highest quarterly profits in its history: BRL 18.8 billion—87 percent more than one year ago. The main driving factor of these numbers was the sale of a major pipeline network to a French-Canadian consortium for BRL 33 billion. But analysts were not only focused on the profits column in the company’s earnings reports—there was more to be excited about.

The company has continued to reduce its debt and increase its focus on deepwater oil and gas exploitation—which helps cut costs. Operational and maintenance costs in pre-salt fields (which account...

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