RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Thursday that demands by independent truckers who have old vehicles and are high diesel consumers are not the company’s problem.
CEO Roberto Castello Branco also criticized the quality of the country’s roads, which imposes high costs for truckers.
“This is not Petrobras’ problem,” Branco said during a webinar organized by an investment bank, adding that his company sells fuels in accordance with international prices.
Brazilian truckers are threatening a nationwide strike on Feb. 1 amid a rise in fuel and other costs.
Castello Branco, without specifying, said there are groups pressuring politicians to demand intervention to lower the price of diesel.
Petrobras is pricing fuels above its import costs and is not loosing money, he said. But Castello Branco said it will not bring the volatility of the international market to local prices by making regular price adjustments.
Former CEO Pedro Parente resigned in 2018 after a national trucker strike, with drivers discontent with the company’s policy then of adjusting prices daily.
Petrobras investors have a trauma of government intervention in fuel prices after the producer lost around $40 billion between 2011 and 2014 for subsidizing fuels as part of a government plan to control inflation.
The company is trying to sell half of its refining capacity and negotiations for five of eight units on the block are in final stages, he said. Refineries can erode investors’ money as they are a less profitable business than other investments, the CEO said. (Reporting by Sabrina Valle and Marta Nogueira; Editing by Dan Grebler)