Higher exploration costs and a number of dry wells have contributed to Brazilian oil giant Petrobras’ highest quarter loss in more than 13 years, the firm announced on Friday.
Petrobras lost USD 665m in the second quarter of 2012, down from USD 6.4bn of net income in the same period last year, it said in a statement. Experts had estimated approximately USD 1.82bn of net income for the second quarter this year.
The firm accounts for an estimated 10 per cent of Brazil’s gross domestic product.
Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Foster blamed the loss on a weaker Brazilian currency, as well as on higher exploration and production costs shunned by losses related to wells which came up dry or were not commercially viable.
Foster’s arguments have put a stain on the reputation of the oil giant, which until recently boasted an 85 per cent exploration success rate.
Exploration and production costs jumped by some USD 1.18bn in the second quarter from nearly USD 0.50bn in the first quarter.
Petrobras announced in June that major output increases were unlikely before 2015. It plans to invest USD 236bn between 2012-2016 and double output to roughly 5.4 million barrels a day by 2020.
This would allow the oil giant to contend with the US for the spot of world’s third largest oil producer.