Chief Executive Officer (Petrobras)

Gabrielli spoke in depth with senior editorial staff for Petroleum Intelligence Weekly about the future of Petrobras and the prospects for Brazil and the oil industry.
Click here to watch an excerpt from this interview.

Energy Intelligence announced that José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, chief executive officer of Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras), has earned the distinction of his peers – leaders of many of the world’s 100 largest oil companies – as the 2011 Petroleum Executive of the Year.

“This selection reflects Gabrielli’s success in leading Petrobras during a period of enormous growth that’s seen it become the second largest oil company in the world by market capitalization, and encompassed the discovery of vast deep water oil and gas reserves in the sub-salt area in the South Atlantic – the most important new petroleum province of the last 10 years,” noted Thomas Wallin, president of Energy Intelligence, a global information provider of industry publications, analytics and research. “He also led the company during its record and highly successful $70 billion share offering last year.”

Gabrielli’s background is unconventional for an oil company CEO. He is not an engineer, geologist or MBA. He is an academic economist with a PhD who joined Petrobras in 2003 as a high level finance executive before being appointed CEO in 2005. Gabrielli’s academic specialties include the success of state-owned companies; his tenure at Petrobras has afforded the opportunity to put his ideas into practice.

Under Gabrielli’s leadership, Petrobras made discoveries expected to more than double its oil reserves and production in the years to come. The company has established itself as a leader in deepwater exploration and production technology with among the highest safety and efficiency standards in the business. He also raised huge amounts of capital to fund these upstream developments and allow the state company to remain very much the dominant force in the development of Brazil’s oil industry.

Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras is publicly traded yet majority owned by the Brazilian government. So Gabrielli also contends with the reality that his is a political appointment; running a state-controlled firm like Petrobras requires considerable political as well as management skills.

José Sergio Gabrielli