Total and Petrobras, A Strategic Alliance

Pedro Parente, Petrobras CEO, on Total and Petrobras’ Strategic Alliance
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He is a man of complicated missions. But he is more importantly a man of experience. Former minister. Industry captain, Pedro Parente has taken on the biggest responsibilities in his past. Last may, he took over Petrobras with one goal: turn the company around and restore it to its rightful splendor.

For the past 10 months, Pedro Parente has been working relentlessly. One of his major decisions has been to partner with Total in a strategic alliance. … and to celebrate this unprecedented alliance, Total has invited Pedro Parente to speak in front of the managers of the Group on the 1st of March in Paris. It was on this occasion that we had the chance to talk to him.


Mr Parente, thank you for taking our questions.

What do you think makes Total and Petrobras a good match for such a strategic alliance?


We have common values.

That is, I would say, a very important starting point.

If we don't have common values, it's not a good idea to partner.

Another factor is the fact that we are probably the biggest companies

in exploring deep water.

Both Total and Petrobras have developed a very good technology.

For Petrobras, for instance, it will be very important to get the knowledge you, in Total, developed in the coast of Africa.


And for Total it will be important, the technology we developed in the east part of the Atlantic and South Atlantic. So we will really benefit from this exchange of technology.

We are in very complementary situations.


Can you explain what a strategic alliance is, as opposed to a simple partnership?


A normal partnership is usually to explore a specific field, a specific asset.

In strategic partnerships, we go beyond the explorationof this asset, this field.

We exchange technology, we exchange people coming from Brazil, for instance, to Pau, to visit your center and vice-versa.

Total has very good experience in dealing with CO2; In the same way

we have a lot of experience in deep water, ultra-deep water, and Total can benefit from some aspects of what we are doing.


On a broader note, we are now partners and yet remain competitors.

So what's your view of the balance between competition and cooperation between major industry players?


Let me be very frank. I hardly see ourselves as competitors. I see ourselves as partners because... we are not in the same markets

when we sell our products.

We are partners in many fields in Brazil.

We have international markets for our products.

We are not the ones that fix the prices.

We are working with commodities.

The markets fix the prices.

So I really don't see any conflict, any risk that by working in the same sector this could in some way contaminate this partnership.


On a more personal note, which is the most difficult job, is it minister or is it head of Petrobras?

It's a very interesting question. When I was minister, I was in charge of the energy crisis.

And dealing with the energy crisis, I was touching all the homes in Brazil, all the families, the industries.

- The power supply...

- Yes.

So it was really complex and stressing.

But in terms of the complexity and the variables under your control - in Petrobras we have more variables under our control - meaning that you have much more work, and have to be always turned on.

And Petrobras is now the second-biggest company in Brazil.

We used to be the first and we are going to make it first again.

But it's a very big and very complex company.

It's a full-time job!

A full-time job.

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