Political pressures on Petrobras do not relent, but are nothing new

Celebrating its 70th anniversary, the oil and gas giant’s ownership by the state has always divided opinions – and Bolsonaro’s attempts to interfere in its pricing policy won’t change that

petrobras pressure misinformation
Petrobras gas station in Vitória, Espírito Santo. Photo: Sergio V. S. Rangel/Shutterstock

In 2023, Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil company, will turn 70. Throughout its existence, it has served as a major Rorschach test in Brazilian politics. To its supporters, it serves as a potent incubator for specialized Brazilian construction and engineering, driving the development of internationally competitive technical expertise in the multifaceted oil industry. 

For opponents, as the company has never really had to face competition from other private corporations in refining oil into products like gasoline, kerosene, and diesel, Petrobras is riddled with inefficiencies.

On the one hand, the company offers Brazil a measure of political and economic independence...

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