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Petrobras Grows On Emerging-Market Energy Use: CEO

Worldwide oil consumption has more than doubled in the past five years, and Petrobras plans to grow with it, Chief Executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo told CNBC Thursday.

Oil Rig
Oil Rig

"In the last five years, worldwide consumption of oil products has grown from three million barrels a day to seven million barrels, said the CEO of the world's third-largest oil producer.

That growth wasn't from the U.S., Europe or Japan, but from increasing consumption in China, India, South American and African countries.

As "people move up the income ladder, they consume more energy" in these emerging growth markets, he said.

At the same time, it is becoming harder and more expensive for Petrobras and its competitors to find new sources of supply.

"We are going to have a very tight market in 2012," he said. "At the same time, we have low interest rates, which means that by the year 2012 we are [probably] going to see prices above $100 per barrel on average, but very high volatility, because we have a lot of speculative contracts that have been traded in the market right now."

To meet growing demand, the Brazilian oil company plans to increase production to three million barrels a day by 2015.

"In order to increase our production we have to add 19 production systems from now to 2015," said Gabrielli. "We have 16 of those under construction right now. We have under contract the three additional ones."

By 2020, Petrobras wants to produce five million barrels a day, he added.

About 95 percent of the company's $224.7 billion in investment will be in Brazil, but the CEO said Petrobras also plans to invest $4 billion in the next four years in the U.S. The company already has a refinery in Texas and is actively exploring in the Gulf of Mexico.

Brazil's growth rate, expected to be around 4 percent this year, is better than "the 1 percent or 2 percent you see in Europe and other countries," but not as strong as last year, when the growth rate was 7.3 percent.

"This is going to open opportunities for American companies to move to Brazil and to create jobs in Brazil," Gabrielli said. "We did a lot of creation of jobs already in the U.S."

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