Brazil's Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) will need to raise its debt load by US$20.6bn by the end of the year to cover gaping revenue shortfalls, according to the latest BNamericas intelligence series report.
The document says the federal energy major's revised US$237bn five-year business plan announced last month would "stretch its budget to the limit."
"Financing for Petrobras' investment plan relies heavily on internal generated cash flow and oil prices above US$85b," the report said.
"While Petrobras' exploration and production unit has been able to improve its bottom line, the same cannot be said for the Refineries, Transport and Marketing (RTM) unit, which suffers from insufficient production and high international prices.
"We expect Petrobras to continue to rely on debt offerings to cover any financing shortfalls created by stagnant cash flow generation that is insufficient to cover investments."
According to Centro Brasileiro de Infraestrutura (CBIE), Petrobras spent US$958mn on foreign oil shipments in the first quarter, a 7.72% increase on the same period last year.
Last week the company's CEO Maria das Graças Foster said the Comperj petrochemical complex in Rio de Janeiro state and two refineries in Brazil's northeast had been postponed indefinitely.
It followed cuts to investments in refineries by 27.7% to US$65.5bn in the 2012-17 budget.
Petrobras' net debt rose to US$58.2bn at the end of the first quarter from US$53.7bn at the same time last year, according the company's Q1 report.
Long-term liabilities and long-term debt constituted 76.2% of the company's total liabilities after the first quarter compared to 70.1% at the end of 2009.
Despite the balance sheet concerns, the report said Petrobras' improved oil and gas production results could "fuel higher sales revenues."
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(Originally published July 6, 2012, by Business News Americas.)