Our History

Travel time in 50 years and know Petrobras

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The 1950'

Petrobras is born - 1953

Petrobras was established on October 3, by then president Getúlio Vargas, to undertake oil sector activities in Brazil on behalf of the State. "It is, therefore, with great satisfaction and patriotic pride that I sanctioned the bill approved by the legislative, which is a new milestone in our economic independence," he already predicted more than 50 years ago.
The creation of Petrobras was the outcome of the popular campaign that started in 1946, under the historical "The oil is ours" slogan.
 

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Petrobras' installation completed - 1954

Petrobras was created in 1953, but its installation was only completed in 1954, when it inherited two refineries from the National Petroleum Council, the Mataripe (state of Bahia) and the Cubatão (state of São Paulo) refineries. Those were the company's first assets. On May 10 that year, the company started its operations, producing 2,663 barrels, 1.7% of the domestic consumption. In 1954, oil and its products already accounted for 54% of Brazil's energy consumption.
 

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With the face of Brazil - 1958

Petrobras' first logo, created by Luiz Pepe, was in line with the nationalistic desires of the time, linking the company's brand to the colors and shape of the Brazilian flag and representing its high technological standard.
 

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The 1960'

Challenges from the beginning - 1960

A series of letters written by American geologist Walter K. Link, at the time a senior Petrobras employee, discussed the geology of oil in Brazil, reporting on the impossibility of producing in our onshore basins. A reassessment of these basins' potential give rise to the controversial Link Report, which was pessimistic about most of them.
The document questioned the rationality of wasting resources on daring exploratory programs, but insisted such conclusions were drawn based on the technological stage of geophysics, which, if improved, could transform the scenario, particularly for offshore exploration. Another factor the report didn't count on was Petrobras resolve to overcome challenges.
 

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Petrobras builds its first refinery - 1961

The REDUC - Duque de Caxias Refinery - today the most complete Petrobras System refinery, was established that year. The Reduc was the first refinery the company built, considering the other ones were incorporated.
It covers an area of approximately 13 square kilometers and accounts for some R$1.2 billion per year in taxes paid to the government. The refinery produces, among other products, base oils for lubricants, diesel fuel, gasoline, LPG, naphtha, aviation kerosene, paraffins, fuel oil, and turpentine.
 

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A new exploratory approach - 1961

It was Brazilian technicians who started setting the new paths for oil exploration in Brazil. The outcome of a new exploratory approach, which counted on the technicians' desire to refute the Link Report, showed positive results straight off, with the discovery of several producer fields in the Recôncavo and of the Carmópolis field, in Sergipe (1963), which, for the first time, opened production perspectives outside of Bahia.
 

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From the Well to the Service Station - 1961

The giant ventures into the sea. In 1961, Petrobras started looking for oil on the continental shelf, in an area ranging from the state of Espírito Santo to the state of Maranhão (the continental shelf is the portion of the sea floor that is relatively shallow - up to 200m - located on the margins of a continent or continental shelf, it is the coastal area of the continents that is bathed by the seas and where water is not very deep - up to 200m). Petrobras' first service station was inaugurated that same year, in Brasília.
Also in 1961, the company reached one of its main objectives: self-sufficiency in the production of the main oil products, thanks to operations going on stream at the Duque de Caxias Refinery.
 

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Latin America's biggest research center - 1968

The Cenpes (Research and Development Center) was created aiming to meet the technological demands which are the base for Petrobras' consolidation and expansion in the global energy scenario. After being granted the main awards in the global oil sector, the Cenpes consolidated itself as the biggest research center in Latin America. Furthermore, the technologies developed at the Cenpes turn Petrobras into the company that applies for the most patents in Brazil and abroad.
 

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The history of the Brazilian petrochemical sector gets underway - 1967

Petrobras incorporates its Petrobras Química S.A. (Petroquisa) subsidiary to coordinate the state and private sectors in the deployment of the petrochemical industry in Brazil. The deployment of a plant to transform naphtha into ethene, a desire both of downstream sector business community and of the government, marks the beginning of the history of the Brazilian petrochemical sector.
 

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Petrobras sets out to sea - 1968

The first offshore oil discovery was made in Sergipe, in the Guaricema Field, at a depth of 80 meters. It proved there was oil in the continental shelf. That was when the tradition of naming high-sea discoveries after aquatic animal species started. The first Brazilian-made oil drilling rig (called P-1) kicked-off its operations that very year. In a day and age when imported oil was very cheap - about $3 per barrel -, investing in developing Guaricema was a strategic decision Petrobras made: Brazilian technicians had to learn how to work in the sea.
 

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The 1970'

Petrobras Distribuidora was Created - 1971

In the early 1970's, Brazil's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was growing at a rate of more than 10% per year, driven by oil product consumption. As it was in charge of domestic supply, Petrobras was faced with the need to invest in ramping up its downstream capacity.
With the mission of contributing to the development of the country, marketing, distributing and manufacturing oil products and other products, Petrobras created the Petrobras Distribuidora subsidiary in 1971. The company accounted for 21% of the market. In 1975, it became the leader of the oil product distribution segment - a position it has maintained ever since.
 

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The oil crisis - 1973

In the early 1970's, the members of the Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose the international prices substantially, triggering the so-called Oil Shock. As a result, the market was troubled and marked by uncertainty, not only insofar as prices were concerned, but also regarding supply guarantees. As an important customer of the OPEC'S national oil companies, with which it has had a good relationship throughout the years, Petrobras was able to keep the Brazilian market supplied.
In order to overcome the difficulties, the government adopted economic measures, some of which directly connected to Petrobras' activities, such as reducing oil product consumption and increasing the internal supply of oil. An example of this was the encouragement for the use of ethanol as automotive fuel, with the creation of the National Ethanol Program. Priority was given to investments in offshore exploration and production, leading to increased domestic oil production, which went on to take-up more space in the refineries' loads.
In that moment of crisis, when the oil prices were high, the best alternative was to continue investing in offshore exploration. By increasing domestic production, Brazil would be less dependent on importing a very expensive product, it would be able to boost its reserves and, ultimately, increase its exports.
 

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The world's most advanced lubricants - 1973

In the early 1970’s, Petrobras decided to produce lubricating oils to supply its own needs. Petrobras' lubricant line reached the Brazilian market in June 1973, manufactured based on the world's most advanced technology. The first automotive line product was Lubrax MG1, for gasoline engines. The launch of these products was a milestone in the Brazilian market. The Lubrax brand is currently the leader in total sales volume in Brazil.
 

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Brazil's biggest oil province - 1974

The Campos Basin - located off the northern coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, and ranging all the way to southern Espírito Santo - was discovered that year. The basin covers an area of approximately 100,000 square kilometers. It is the biggest oil province in Brazil, accounting for upwards of 80% of the domestic oil production. It was drilled for the first time in 1976, at a depth of 100 meters from the waterline. Commercial exploitation started there in 1977, at the Enchova field. Initial production was 10,000 barrels per day, lifted by a floating platform.
In the following years, successive discoveries attracted both attention and investments to the Campos Basin. After the discovery of the Garoupa Field, Petrobras would also discover, the following year, the Pargo, Namorado, and Badejo fields - and, in 1977, the Bonito, Cherne, and Pampo fields.
 

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The beginning and the future of biofuels - 1975

Petrobras plays a fundamental role in supplying and distributing ethanol. On account of the oil crisis, the "Pró-Álcool" (Pro-Ethanol), or the National Ethanol Program, was created aiming to drive the large-scale substitution of oil-based vehicular fuels for biofuels.
Substituting gasoline for ethanol - produced from sugarcane and manioc, among other feedstock - led to 10 million fewer gasoline-fueled cars running in Brazil, reducing the country's dependence on imported oil.
 

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The expansion of the Lubrax line - 1976

The Lubrax line rolled-out more than a hundred products with several applications in the automotive, industrial, aviation, railway and maritime areas in 1976. That same year, Petrobras' Basic Engineering was created and integrated to the Research and Development area of Cenpes.
 

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Concern with the Environment - 1978

Concerned with environmental preservation, Petrobras launched gas emissions control programs, large scale reforestation, and training for emergencies. While the company projects Brazil as a global producer, it also focuses on ecology.
A good example of this is a test done with popcorn, which is tossed in the sea to simulate the direction oil would flow in if an actual leakage occurred (view the photos and the video). By doing so, it is possible to assess the conservation and maintenance conditions for emergency equipment and to evaluate response team readiness.
The highlight is also on the company's participation in a United Nations program for Development, which resulted in the construction of Brazil's first Pollution Combating Center and in the importing of equipment to combat sea pollution by oil.

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The 1980'

Cultural projects that marked an era - 1982

Sponsorship for the "Six-thirty" project, which changed the routine of Rio de Janeiro workers. With daily performances at the João Caetano Theater, downtown Rio de Janeiro, the project offered people who were just getting off of work, in late afternoon, all the best in Brazilian Popular Music.
 

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Marine life at Petrobras - 1983

Submerging in the country's seas prompted Petrobras to take much better care of marine biodiversity, investing in important projects such as the Tamar (marine turtles), the humpback and right whales, the Spinner Dolphin, and the Manatee. To the Company, it is very important to preserve the local fauna where oil activities are carried out. In the case of the animals above, Petrobras' support was essential to ensure the species' survival, as they were threatened of extinction.
 

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Concern with the communities where it has operations - 1983

Petrobras' concern with the communities that surround its operations translates into investments in improving the quality of life of those who live in the regions where it performs.
The Child Program is a wide-ranging project which, since 1983, has been investing in educational complementation for needy boys and girls aged 7 to 14 years. It holds sporting, artistic, and recreational activities, and teaches basic issues related to health and hygiene.
 

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Discovery of giant fields in deep waters - 1984

The Albacora field was discovered in the Campos Basin in November, proving the existence of giant fields nestled at great depths in Brazil, marking the company's history in deepwater exploration which had never before been attempted.
 

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T pump development - 1985

The first electronic pumps ("T" pumps) in the market. The design was awarded and picked by the New York Museum of Modern Art to be part of its permanent collection of modern design masterpieces.
 

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Discovery of the Marlim Field, in the Campos Basin - 1985

The Marlim field was discovered in January 1985. It is located in the Campos Basin, at about 110 km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. That year, Brazil was already producing half of the oil it consumed, well above the 14% mark set in 1979. Although it is located at never before explored water depths, the volumes of reserves pointed to self-sufficiency and new exploratory horizons throughout the continental shelf.
 

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There is oil in the Amazon - 1986

Onshore, good news came in from the Amazon. The Urucu Field, located in the Solimões River Basin, went on stream. A historical milestone for Petrobras' activities in the region. The discovery answered an old question, showing, after all, there was excellent quality commercial oil and associated gas in the Amazon.
In 1988, the Urucu River field, in the Upper Amazon, which had been discovered two years earlier, went into production. Petrobras is a step ahead of the Law and completely removes tetraethyl lead from gasoline.
 

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Pioneering in deep waters - 1986

The company, which until then purchased technology, was faced with the challenge of producing oil at a depth of 400 meters. After surveying the market and finding out there was no technology available for this depth, and needing to increase the country's reserves, the company decided to invest in developing new technologies. The Procap - Deep-water System Technological Innovation Program, was then created. This was an extremely ambitious project, since, at the time, Petrobras had been exploring oil at depths of 150 meters and had plans for 1000 meters. It was a great success, and the company is currently the global leader in this area.
 

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Petrobras Symphony Orchestra - 1987

Created in 1987, the Petrobras Symphony Orchestra is now one of the most important Latin American orchestras. From an average of 12 annual performances in its first years, it now performs more than 50 times in each season.
The orchestra holds top-notch concerts, with great guest soloists. Its mission also includes taking classical music to the population that has no access to this type of culture by performing in churches, in the surrounding communities, slums, and in schools. It also produces chamber series.
 

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The 1990'

The Oscar of the oil industry - 1991

Petrobras enters the decade being named by the Offshore Technology Conference for the OTC Distinguished Achievement Award, the most important award in the global oil sector, as recognition for its notable contribution to the progress of deep-water production technology.
 

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Another global recognition - 1992

Petrobras wins the OTC Distinguished Achievement Award again, the top honor in technology granted by the Offshore Technology Conference, in Houston, United States, as the company that contributed the most to the technological development of the offshore industry.
 

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Resumption of national cinema - 1994

The sponsorship of Carla Camurati's "Carlota Joaquina" marked the resumption of Brazilian cinema and the beginning of a new, long-lasting partnership with Petrobras. Since then, we have sponsored hundreds of movies, among feature films, shorts and digital media films.
 

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The monopoly is broken - 1997

The state oil monopoly is put to an end by Constitutional Amendment No. 9, dated November 9. The Company becomes one of the world's biggest oil companies.
 

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Gasoline for Formula 1 - 1998

A technological agreement was signed with the WilliamsF1 Team, which ended in 2008. Gasoline started being supplied to the Williams Formula 1 team, proving Petrobras' technological excellence in this fuel. The Company went on to develop on the tracks the gasoline that is used on the streets. The images rescue a little of this story of success.
 

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The 2000'

Gas turns into electricity - 2000

To help Brazil overcome the "energy blackout" crisis, Petrobras purchases several thermoelectric plants, which turn gas into electricity. This is an efficient strategy to diversify and enhance the Brazilian energy matrix. The thermoelectric plant of the Nitrogenated Fertilizer Plant (Fafen), in Bahia, is the first plant Petrobras holds stakes in to go into operation.
 

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The pursuit of excellence in Safety, the Environment, and Health - 2001

The Program for Excellence in Environmental and Operational Safety - Pegaso - was created to undertake environmental impact studies and to develop accident prevention and immediate help techniques for the oil industry. After the accidents at the Guanabara Bay and at platform P-36, Petrobras decided to make heavy investments to increase all of its activities to levels of excellence with regard to environmental and operating safety. Pegaso became the widest-ranging and daring environmental policy project in the history of the industry in Brazil.
 

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Podium Gasoline: high technology - 2002

The company rolls out a new type of gasoline. The product, dubbed as the Petrobras Podium gasoline, is the same that is used on the Formula 1 tracks. Petrobras Podium is the world’s most advanced gasoline and it is appropriate for use in any gasoline-fired vehicle.
 

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50 years of Petrobras - 2003

In the 50 years of Petrobras, oil production in Brazil and abroad surpasses the two million barrel mark.
That same year, the company democratized its sponsorship policies, giving everyone an opportunity to participate in the Public Selections for cultural, environmental and social projects.
 

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Renewable energies - 2004

Petrobras' first wind energy plant was inaugurated, on a pilot scale, in the city of Macau, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.
 

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In ultra-deep waters - 2005

Petrobras sets the Brazilian drilling depth record with a sloped well that reached 6,915 meters beyond the bottom of the sea. The well was drilled at the Santos basin, located 200 km away from the southern coast of the city of Rio de Janeiro.
 

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Petrobras achieves self-sufficiency - 2006

We celebrated Brazil's sustainable self-sufficiency in oil and gas production, with platforms P-34 and P-50 going on stream. With an average daily production of 1.9 million barrels per day, Brazil went on to exporting more oil and oil products than it imported. It was a dream come true, only possible thanks to the technological efforts and dedication of our employees.
H-Bio, an innovative refining process that uses a part of vegetable oil to produce conventional diesel fuel, was developed. In September, we entered the select group of companies that are listed in the Dow Jones Global Sustainability Index (DJSI), the world’s most important for the sector.
 

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Petrochemical Complex - 2007

That same year, together with the Ultra Group and BNDES, we undertook a study to deploy the Petrochemical Complex in the municipality of Itaboraí, in Rio de Janeiro. With investments foreseen at approximately $8.38 billion, the Comperj's main objective is to ramp up the domestic production of petrochemical products, processing some 150,000 barrels per day or national heavy oil.
 

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A New Energy Era - 2007

We announced the discovery of the Tupi area, in the Santos Basin, with great oil and gas concentrations in pre-salt sections. The new frontier might boost Brazil's oil and gas reserves by 50%. The amount of oil that was found is so significant that it will catapult Petrobras and Brazil to a new scenario in the sector's global industry.
Another highlight is operations going online at the first bioethanol (lignocellulose ethanol) pilot plant in Brazil using the enzymatic route. This plant ranks the Company on the cutting-edge of second generation biofuels, those which are made out of agribusiness residues.
 

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Pan-American Games - 2007

To contribute to the growth of Brazilian sports, we were the main endorser of Brazilian sports during the Rio de Janeiro Pan-American Games, held last July.
 

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Biofuels - 2008

Petrobras Biocombustível was created. This is the subsidiary in charge of developing ethanol and biodiesel production and management projects.
 

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Production kicked-off in the pre-salt - 2009

Oil production begins in the Tupi area on May 1st. The pre-salt fields might change the Company's reserve profile, currently by and large composed of heavy oil, reducing light oil and natural gas imports.
 

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The 2010'

The pre-salt all steam ahead - 2010

Oil production in Tupi is expected to reach 100,000 barrels per day.
 

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Commerciality of the pre-salt areas - 2010

After running the Exploratory Assessment Program, we made the Declaration of Commerciality for the good quality oil and gas accumulations in the Tupi and Iracema areas. The total recoverable volumes of these fields, as reported to the regulator, is 8.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe). The exploratory success achieved in the area represents the high potential of the Pre-Salt, which is already contributing to the growth of the production curve and of the oil and gas reserves.
 

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Capitalization - 2010

We undertook the largest capital increase operation in world history. Petrobras' capitalization took us from fourth to second place among the publicly-held oil companies: on September 23 2010, we reached $223.2 billion in market value. Before the offering, Petrobras' market value was $147 billion.
 

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3rd biggest energy company - 2011

We moved up one more position and went from fourth to third place in the PFC Energy 50 ranking, which lists the largest energy companies in the world by market value. We closed December 2010 at $228.9 billion. PFC Energy highlighted our steady ascent. We soared from 27th place in the first edition of the ranking, in 1999, to third in just over a decade.
 

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New Energies - 2013

Biodiesel production in Brazil is forecast to reach 640 million liters. For the ethanol segment, the goal is to reach, in partnerships, the production of 1.9 billion liters of the product, aimed at the foreign market, and 1.8 billion liters to be distributed in the domestic market.

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