Vinicius Konczynski Brazil in fact | Curitiba Airport (PR) Acelen, which bought the Landulpho Alves Refinery (Rlam) in Bahia from Petrobras, sells the gasoline and diesel it produces at prices above those of imported fuel. This observation is from the Petrobras Social Observatory (OSP).
OSP compared the prices of gasoline and diesel sold by Acelen in Bahia and the price of the same fuel sold by importers in the port of Arato, also in Bahia.
Acelen last revised its price list on Saturday (26th). For the sixth time this year, the company has raised the price of gasoline it produces at the former Ralam plant, now renamed the Matarib Refinery.
After the increase, a liter of the cheapest gasoline on sale by Acelen costs R$ 4.24. A liter of imported gasoline sold at the port of Arato is R$3.96, according to OSP.
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Thus, the price of a liter of this gasoline, which is bought in dollars from abroad and transported to Bahia, costs about R$ 0.28 less than the price sold by Acelen. The difference is roughly 7%.
In the case of the S10 diesel, the cost per liter sold by Acelen is from R$ 5.07 per liter. An imported product, on the other hand, costs 4.67 R$ – about 8% less.
Petrobras is cheaper
OSP also compared the price of gasoline and diesel sold by Acelen with the prices charged by Petrobras refineries. In these cases, the difference is greater.
It should be noted that Petrobras’ pricing policy is international parity. This policy was adopted in 2016, after the trial of former President Dilma Rousseff (PT) to increase the profitability of the state-owned company.
However, the policy does add an additional cost to the price of fuel in Brazil. While the price of gasoline and diesel is calculated in dollars, only a third of their production in Brazil is pegged to the exchange rate, according to the Federation of Oil Workers (FUP).
Petrobras’ current pricing policy is largely responsible for the recent hike in fuel prices in Brazil, according to the same federal government. This rise caused Petrobras itself to have already warned its investors that it might change its prices.
Currently, Petrobras prices are slightly lower than those on the international market. On the other hand, Acelen produces fuel in Brazil and charges more than companies that produce abroad and bring their products to the Brazilian market.
According to FUP and Bahia State Fuel Trade Union (Sindicombustíveis-BA), Acelen charges prices above market standards because it has a regional monopoly on fuel distribution in Bahia.
The old Rlam, now called the Mataripe Refinery, is located in the municipality of São Francisco do Conde (BA), just over 50 km from Salvador. There is no other major refinery operating less than 700 km away. The closest fuel production plant to Mataribi is the Abreu e Lima Refinery (Rnest), in Ipojuca (PE).
Until mid-March, Acelen sold the fuel it produces in Bahia for cheaper at distribution stations in Pernambuco, Alagoas and Maranhão than in Bahia itself. This was due to the lack of competition in the Bahian market, according to Sindicobustíveis, which contacted the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (Cade).
When contacted, Acelen reported that its prices “follow market standards that take into account variables such as the cost of oil purchased at international prices, dollars and freight.”
According to the company, fuel pricing is adjusted weekly. With this in mind, it is possible, at certain times, for prices to be higher than import prices and others lower. “This scenario is completely normal in this market,” he declared.
Acelen is a company set up by Mubadala Capital Fund, from the United Arab Emirates.
The fund paid 1.65 billion US dollars (about 7.8 billion Brazilian reais) to the refinery. According to assessments by the Zé Eduardo Dutra Institute for Strategic Studies in Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (Ineep), which is associated with FUP, the value of the refinery was at least twice that.
Based on this study, FUP has denounced the privatization of Rlam to the Federal Court of Audit (TCU). The agency did not see any irregularities in the deal.
Old Ralam Refinery is the first national refinery established in 1950, even before Petrobras was established, in 1953.
The plant is capable of producing more than 30 different products, including gasoline, diesel, lubricants and jet fuel. It is also a national producer of paraffin used in the manufacture of chocolate and chewing gum.
The sale of Rlam is part of Petrobras’ divestment programme. Of the 14 refineries owned by the state-owned company, eight have been put up for sale under this program. Ramlam was the first to have his management actually transferred from the state to the private sector.
The federal government officially intends to sell Petrobras’ refineries to other companies so that they can compete with the state-owned company. This, for the government, tends to lower the prices of petroleum products in Brazil.
This did not happen as it did in the old Rlam. Since Petrobras sold it, the price of fuel there has gone up more than that sold at state-owned refineries.
There were also supply problems in Bahia. Acelen has stopped supplying ships passing through the port of Salvador since it took control of the former state-owned factory.
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