Petrobras, Brazil's state-run oil company, will likely post an increase in fourth-quarter profits when it reports those results on Friday after the close of U.S. markets, but the profit growth will probably lag the robust numbers recently posted by other global integrated oil companies.
Analysts expect the company to show a fourth-quarter profit of $5.49 billion, up 13% from a year earlier. Increased production will probably help Petrobras (PBR) deliver decent profit. The company pumped an average of 2.63 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the fourth quarter.
The ability of Petrobras to benefit from higher oil prices in a fashion similar to its U.S. and European rivals is muted by the government's hand in the company. Brazilian authorities also enact strict price controls for gasoline and diesel fuel in the domestic market, tempering Petrobras's ability to pass on higher oil prices to consumers.
Despite not raising domestic fuel prices, Petrobras will still reap some benefits from higher international oil prices during the quarter. North Sea Brent Crude, which Petrobras uses as its reference price, averaged $86.47 in the fourth quarter, Dow Jones reported.