Petrobras in the first nine months of 2006 invested some 22.6bn reais (US$10.5bn), 34% above the 16.9bn reais invested in the year-ago period but below the target for the US$87bn program.
But company officials are not worried about the missed target.
"Most of the projects listed in the five-year investment program are already underway," said Barbassa.
Investments are in part designed to increase domestic oil output 26%. Petrobras' domestic output averaged 1.76Mb/d in the first nine months of 2006 and 2.29Mb/d including international operations.
The company is committed to investing some US$17bn a year, mostly from its own resources. Of the total US$87bn program, some US$49bn is earmarked for E&P investments.
Of the total invested in the first three quarters of 2006, 51% went to E&P, 17% to international operations and 13% to supplies, the company said.
Operating costs have been on the rise, in part intentionally as Petrobras works to meet its investment target, Barbassa said. In the first nine months of 2006, Petrobras operating expenses rose 3.5% to 15.6bn reais and costs of goods sold rose 23% to 70.0bn reais.
Although some of the increases reflect higher oil production and refining costs, Petrobras expanded spending on consultancy services for project development, Barbassa said.
"Given the size of our investment programs, we are hiring several consulting services for projects," said Barbassa.
In the third quarter of 2006, spending on other items including consultancy services rose 50.8% to 1.3bn reais compared to the previous quarter.
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