Brazil Speaker unsatisfied with Petrobras CEO's price explanations

By Eduardo Simões

SAO PAULO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Brazil's Lower House Speaker said on Thursday that he was unsatisfied with explanations provided by the chief executive of state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA PETR4.SA about recent increases in fuel prices.

Petrobras CEO Joaquim Silva e Luna defended the company's price policies before lawmakers at a hearing in the lower house on Tuesday.

But in the latest sign of rising political heat over the state company's role in surging energy prices, House Speaker Arthur Lira demanded during an livestreamed event that Luna provide more detailed information on recent price policy.

Lira said he did not favor price controls, but argued that the state-owned company should share some of its wealth with the Brazilian people.

"We need to know where the fuel price problem is," Lira said, adding that "some people say" Petrobras quickly passes on increases in international oil prices to Brazilian consumers.

Petrobras did not return a comment request regarding Lira's remarks.

Luna has previously argued that the Brazilian government benefits from the dividends it receives from the oil company as well as from taxes on its operations.

But Lira said the Luna's explanations were insufficient.

Since Luna took the helm of Petrobras on April 19, replacing Roberto Castello Branco following an earlier pricing spat, gasoline prices at the refinery have risen by 5.5%, while diesel rose 1.8%, according to Reuters calculations based on Petrobras data.
Reporting by Eduardo Simões and Marta Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro Ana Mano; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Christian Plumb

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