Former Brazilian Senator Takes Over Petrobras Helm

Former Brazilian Senator Takes Over Petrobras Helm
The Board of Directors of Petrobras has unanimously appointed former Senator Jean Paul Terra Prates as the new chief executive officer.

The Board of Directors of Brazilian state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras has unanimously appointed former Senator Jean Paul Terra Prates as the new chief executive officer.

Prates was also chosen as a director of the company, and he will hold the CEO position until the next General Shareholders’ Meeting set for April 13, 2023. This is the same term for all Petrobras Executive Board members.

At that time executives that wish so will be up for re-election if the shareholders elect them in. It is expected that Prates will be sworn in permanently at the shareholders' meeting.

A longtime energy consultant-turned-politician, Prates was tapped for the top Petrobras job by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and is expected to oversee a strategic shift to more renewable energy projects and renewed investments in refining.

Prates is a lawyer with a Master's in Economics and Management of Oil, Gas, and Engines from the French Petroleum Institute and a Master's in Energy Policy and Environmental Management from the University of Pennsylvania.

He was a member of the legal counsel of Petrobras International – Braspetro, editor of the Oil & Gas Journal Latinoamericana, and Executive Director of Expetro Consultoria em Recursos Naturais – the largest national oil consultancy during the 1990s and 2000s, when he coordinated projects for several public and private companies, national and international, union and sector entities, and advised governments, regulatory agencies and parliamentarians in all areas of the energy sector. 

As Energy Secretary of the Rio Grande do Norte State Government, he led the state to energy self-sufficiency and national leadership in wind power generation along with the consolidation of refinery and gas and biomass thermoelectric plants in the state, as well as built bases for solar and offshore wind power projects. 

As Senator of the Republic for Rio Grande do Norte between 2019 and 2023, among other relevant positions, he was a member of the college of leaders, and Leader in the Senate and in the National Congress. He was President of the Parliamentary Front for Natural Resources and Energy and of the Brazil-Arab Countries Parliamentary Group.

He was a member of several Senate committees, such as the Committee of Economic Affairs, the Committee of Services and Infrastructure, and the Committee of Science and Technology.

Prates was also the author of important legal frameworks involving energy transition and sustainable practices, such as the law regulating carbon capture and storage activities and the offshore energy law. In addition, he served as rapporteur of the Legal Framework for Railroads, the new laws on the production of biogas in landfills, and the new law on sustainable urban mobility. 

He was recently recognized as one of the three most influential people in the renewable energy sector in Brazil, and one of the 50 most important personalities in the world energy sector by several energy magazines, both in Europe and the US. He was also elected one of the 25 most influential in the world wind industry.

Reuters cited a source familiar with the matter that said Prates would nominate picks for senior executive management on Friday after a meeting with Lula to discuss board appointees.

On Thursday, the Brazilian Senate's official gazette published the resignation of Prates as a lawmaker. Prates took over from the head of production development at Petrobras, Joao Henrique Rittershaussen, an interim CEO since January 4 after Caio Paes de Andrade, a nominee of former President Jair Bolsonaro, resigned. To remind, Andrade was diagnosed with cancer in September 2022 and announced he would retire before the end of his term set for April this year.

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