Petrobras controls significant oil and energy assets in 18 countries in Africa, North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. These holdings as well as properties in Brazil give it total assets of $137.3 billion (2012). Petrobras is Latin America’s largest company with 2008 sales of $118.3 billion, according to a ranking from Latin Business Chronicle over Latin America’s Top 500 Companies. The Brazilian government directly owns 54 percent of Petrobras’ common shares with voting rights, while the Brazilian Development Bank and Brazil’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (Fundo Soberano) each control 5 percent, bringing the State’s direct and indirect ownership to 64 percent. The privately held shares are traded on BM&F Bovespa, where they are part of the Ibovespa index.
Petrobras began processing oil shale in 1953, developing Petrosix technology for extracting oil from oil shale. An industrial size retort began processing shale in the 1990s. In 2006, Petrobras claimed that this industrial retort had a design capacity to process 260 tonnes/hour of oil shale. Petrobras operated the world’s largest oil platform — the Petrobras 36 Oil Platform – until an explosion on 15 March 2001 led to its sinking on 20 March 2001. P-36 was replaced by FPSO-Brasil. In 2007, Petrobras inaugurated the Petrobras 52 Oil Platform. The 52 is the biggest Brazilian oil platform and third in the world.
Petrobras is also recognized as the largest sponsor of arts, culture, and environmental protection in Brazil. Among the environmental initiatives, Petrobras is the main supporter of whale conservation and research through the Brazilian Right Whale Project and the Instituto Baleia Jubarte (Brazilian Humpback Whale Institute). Petrobras has been a sponsor of the Williams Formula-1 team. The company employs the H-Bio process to produce biodiesel.