Petrobras to cut costs by up to $7.5 billion in '13: source


Brazil state-led oil company Petrobras plans to cut between 5 billion reais and 15 billion reais ($2.5 billion and $7.5 billion) from its operational costs next year, sources with direct knowledge of the plans said on Friday.

The cuts are part of Petrobras' "Procop" cost-optimization program that will start in January and were announced in an internal company presentation on Thursday by Chief Executive Maria das Gra��as Foster, the sources said.

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Petrobras has not published an official estimate of the value of the expected savings.

The plan is aimed at helping Foster find ways to revive stagnant production and boost cash flow to pay for a $237 billion, five-year expansion, one of the world's largest corporate investment programs.

Despite high spending levels and the discovery of some of the world's largest offshore oil fields in the past five years, Petrobras has missed all its annual production targets for a decade, and August oil and natural gas output fell to a 22-month low.

For the second quarter, Petrobras posted a 1.35 billion real loss, its first in 13 years.

Procop is focused on areas that accounted for 63 billion reais ($31 billion) of spending in 2011, the "manageable portion" of the company's 199 billion reais of outlays registered in Petrobras' 2011 accounts as cost of goods sold and operational expenses, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement said the company had identified 28 areas where costs and "optimizations" could be made, but did not say how much it planned to save with its program.

(Reporting by Jeb Blount and Sabrina Lorenzi; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Gerald E. McCormick and Leslie Gevirtz)