Petrobras CEO denies government interference after diesel price hike canceled By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Roberto Castello Branco, CEO of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras talks during a seminar in Rio de Janeiro

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Roberto Castello Branco, chief executive officer of oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, denied there was government interference even after the state-controlled oil company delayed a diesel price hike after a call from President Jair Bolsonaro.

Castello Branco, the CEO of Petrobras, said President Bolsonaro warned him in the call about the risks of a potential new truckers strike if diesel prices rose. “The decision was taken by Petrobras management, no one told the company to cancel the price rise,” he said, after leaving a meeting with cabinet ministers at the presidential palace in Brasilia.

Castello Branco met on Monday with Mines and Energy minister Bento Albuquerque, Infrastructure minister Tarcisio Freitas, and Economy minister Paulo Guedes. He said Petrobras fuel pricing policy was not discussed during the meeting. The presidential palace said in a statement the meeting discussed “solutions to road transportation.”

The CEO said the company will decide whether the price of diesel will be raised. Castello Branco will meet with President Bolsonaro on Tuesday to discuss the diesel pricing policy.

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