REFILE-UPDATE 2-Petrobras shares will recover but not from fuels - CEO
* Petrobras does not plan to raise fuel prices now - CEO * Company in talks to regain rights in Neuquem, Argentina * More rigs, oil output to redeem share price in investors' eyes BRASILIA, April 25 (Reuters) - Petrobras' poorly performing shares will recover in the coming months as more drilling rigs are delivered and more oil reserves are incorporated, the chief executive of the Brazilian state-run oil company said on Wednesday. But Maria das Gracas Foster, appointed to the top post in February, added that shares would not get a boost due to growth in the company's revenue from locally sold gasoline or diesel. When asked exiting Congress after questioning from lawmakers, Foster told reporters who asked if she planned on raising fuel prices, "Now is not the time." On April 17, Foster said Petrobras will have to raise the price of gasoline and diesel domestically due to the high sustained price of oil, which the company expects to remain at around $119 a barrel through 2012. Earlier on Wednesday while Foster was testifying before Congress, she told Federal Deputy Arnaldo Jardim Petrobras shares would not fall forever. Jardim revealed that he had a position in Petrobras stock and thought the price was too low. He asked Foster, who has a career spanning more than three decades at Brazil's biggest company, if the low share price reflected investors' fears that the company was not raising oil output and securing new rigs and platforms fast enough. "The tendency is for a systematic appreciation" in the share price, Foster said. "As we have more rigs and we incorporate more reserves, I have no doubt that Petrobras shares will be more recognized in the coming months, medium-term and certainly in the long term." On the BM&FBovespa exchange, the stock was trading down 0.9 percent at 21.06 reais. It had fallen 40 percent since peaking at 36.58 reais in late 2009, making Petrobras one of the worst performers among the major oil companies over the period. Foster said all of Brazil's drilling rigs, of which the company expects to have 40 in operation by the end of 2012, are foreign made, but by 2016 all new rigs would be Brazilian made. Petrobras has commissioned Brazilian shipyards, many of which haven't even been built yet, for hundreds of drilling rigs, production platforms and vessels for the development of Brazil's newly discovered oil riches in the so-called subsalt layer deep under the ocean floor off its coast. Foster said she would be unforgiving with shipyards that were not able to deliver on the billions of dollars in contracts that Petrobras has granted them. One of the obstacles facing Brazil's nascent shipping industry is a national content law that requires at least 60 percent of the value of the ship or rig to have been produced at home. But Brazil lacks the know-how and technology for building complex and technically sophisticated vessels that operate in the oil industry. Foster defended the local content law, saying if something were to malfunction with a rig or production platform, she wanted Petrobras to be able to solve the problem quickly with the local industry rather than having to wait months for a solution produced in Asia or Europe. ARGENTINA Foster said Petrobras is in talks to regain its exploration rights that the provincial government of Neuquem in the Argentine suspended, after it alleged the company was not investing enough to develop hydrocarbon deposits in its blocks. "There is no plan to increase investments in Argentina," Foster said. "Our big priority is the subsalt and to go for the most profitability. The company needs to seek large-scale production but Argentina has fields that interest us a lot."
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