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Clarifications about EPE Cuiabá x Petrobras case (Administrative Inquiry 08700.009007/2015-04)

Administrative Inquiry

Press release issued on May 18 2017
published: May 22, 2017 07:25 PM last modified: May 22, 2017 07:25 PM

The Administrative Council for Economic Defense – CADE clarifies that, on  September 4th 2015, the company Empresa Produtora de Energia (EPE) – owned by the JBS Group – reported to CADE a supposed anticompetitive violation carried out by Petrobras. EPE, which is the owner of a thermoelectric plant in Cuiabá (MT), alleged that Petrobras was refusing to supply natural gas to the thermoelectric, or applying discriminatory selling conditions. 

The complaint brought to CADE by EPE against Petrobras was similar to others previously presented to CADE by other agents, regarding alleged discriminatory practices by Petrobras concerning the supply of natural gas to competitors.

CADE’s General Superintendence started an Administrative Inquiry – a  standard procedure to investigate competition violations reported to CADE. CADE did not initiate an Administrative Proceeding so far, which is a more advanced procedure that initiates a formal accusation against a denounced company, after the recognition of larger evidences of infraction. During the Administrative Inquiry, EPE requested to CADE at least six times the adoption of a Preventive Measure (an Injunction Order) – an instrument that would force Petrobras to immediately cease supposed practices.  

CADE has not accepted these requests in any moment. In addition, CADE has not yet issued any decision favouring EPE. This shows that the case has been conducted normally by CADE’s technical staff and without any benefits to EPE/JBS Group.  

The search and seizure warrant conducted on May 18th 2017 was specifically directed to obtain copies of the material produced in the ongoing Administrative Inquiry. CADE fully cooperated with the authorities and will remain collaborating. It is worth mentioning that CADE completely supports the investigation carried out by the public prosecutors.