Brazil’s Petrobras has announced plans to invest $68bn from 2022-2026 to boost oil production in the subsea pre-salt area.

The latest investment represents an increase from the $55bn announced by the state-owned entity last year for 2020-2025.

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The Brazilian firm expects to reach an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil a day with a variation of 4% either side, having previously reduced its forecast to 2.3 million barrels due to Covid-19 impacts and divestments this year.

In 2022, Petrobras plans for its total production target, including oil and natural gas, to reach 2.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Petrobras is planning to allocate 84% of its latest investment plan to oil and gas exploration and production, with a focus on assets in deep and ultradeep waters.

Petrobras CEO Joaquim Silva e Luna said: “Petrobras maintains its consistent strategy of focusing on projects with the potential to generate resources and contribute to the Brazilian society.

“We prioritise transforming resources into wealth for the country while following the sustainable path for the energy transition.

“We have expanded our investment forecast for the coming years and we are doing this with extreme responsibility and diligence in allocating resources.”

To improve operational efficiency and support investment opportunities, the firm plans to raise between $15bn and $25bn through assets divestment, while maintaining an active portfolio.

Under the new plan, Petrobras will allocate $1.8bn for projects pertaining to the decarbonisation of operations and the optimisation of production, with a focus on emissions reduction.

The Brazilian firm is also considering the recent analysis of potential new businesses to reduce reliance on fossil sources.

Last month, Petrobras reported a net income of $5.34bn for the third quarter of 2021, while its net revenue stood at $21.78bn.

It also cut down its gross debt to $59.6bn in the third quarter of 2021, from $79.58bn in the corresponding period of last year.