by Jim Washer, London, EI
Petrobras Chief Executive José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo has been named by Energy Intelligence as its 2011 Petroleum Executive of the Year. The award reflects Gabrielli’s stewardship of the state-controlled Brazilian firm through a period of unprecedented growth, encompassing the discovery of huge [deep water] subsalt oil and gas reserves [in the South Atlantic]. Gabrielli’s triumph comes at an intriguing time. Political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East has left the world contemplating an oil price shock reminiscent of those of the 1970s. The price spikes of that decade prompted a radical energy policy response from some consuming countries, most notably Brazil. The government sought to protect the country from future price shocks by promoting the extensive use of sugar cane-derived ethanol in transport fuels and by making Petrobras a pioneer in deepwater exploration. If the disruption to Libyan oil and gas exports spreads to other producers in the region, the impact on energy prices may encourage other oil and gas importing nations to follow the Brazilian example.
(Under Gabrielli’s leadership, Petrobras made discoveries expected to more than double its oil reserves and production in the years to come. The company has established itself as a leader in deepwater exploration and production technology with among the highest safety and efficiency standards in the business. He also raised huge amounts of capital to fund these upstream developments and allow the state company to remain very much the dominant force in the development of Brazil’s oil industry. The Petroleum Executive of the Year selection process begins with Energy Intelligence eliciting nominations from the heads of the 100 largest oil companies determined by The Energy Intelligence Top 100: Ranking The World’s Oil Companies, an EI publication. These nominations are then voted on by a committee of previous award winners and former senior oil executives. Past winners of the Petroleum Executive of the Year Award include Andrew Gould of Schlumberger (2010), Christophe de Margerie of Total (2009), Paolo Scaroni of Eni (2008), Abdulla al-Attiyah of Qatar (2007), Dr. Shokri Ghanem of Libya (2006), Abdallah Jum'ah of Saudi Aramco (2005), David O'Reilly of Chevron (2004), Lee Raymond of ExxonMobil (2003), James J. Mulva of ConocoPhillips (2002), Sir Mark Moody-Stuart of Royal Dutch Shell (2001), Thierry Desmarest of Total (2000), Lucio A. Noto of ExxonMobil (1999), Luis Giusti of PDVSA (1998) and Lord John Browne of BP (1997)---please see EON: Enhanced Online News, here. Brazil has become a net oil exporter in the last decade. Petrobras has been ranked fourth in the Platts Top 250 Global Energy Companies Rankings 2010, behind ExxonMobil, BP and Gazprom Oao---please see my post, here. Petrobras with a market capitalization of $229 billion, ranked at No. 3 in the PFC Energy 50 Ranking of World's Top Energy Companies, Jan 2011 reflecting 2010 Rank, after ExxonMobil and PetroChina---please see my post here. Also, Petrobras retained its spot as the No. 15, in the 2011 Petroleum Intelligence Weekly's/PIW's ranking for 2009---please see my blog stand-alone page "Companies" > Petrobras. -- D.R.)