But looks can be deceiving - and in the case of Petrobras, surface-level success is hiding some serious blemishes.
No doubt, Petrobras is one of the top five major energy companies in the world. And the offshore discoveries made off the coast of Brazil over the past few years have been remarkable.
However, these reserves, while large, present problems of their own. The oil they hold will be costly and difficult to extract, and legal red tape and government interference are further complicating matters.
Additionally, new sources of shale oil are proving more reliable and convenient than such precarious deepwater drilling operations
So it's time to sell Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE ADR: PBR) (**), before the only thing getting drilled is its stock.
Into the DeepDeepwater drilling is hard enough to begin with. Imagine what it takes to force high-pressure/high-heat fluids into chilled production equipment sitting on the ocean floor.
That's no easy task. And in Brazil's case, it's made even more challenging by a thick layer of salt sitting above the oil.
The Carioca field, for instance, is 170 miles offshore, more than 6,000 feet below the surface of the water, and trapped beneath a shelf of salt 500 miles long and 125 miles wide.
The trouble is, it's beyond both Brazil's and Petrobras' capacity to fully fund or provide the level of drilling expertise to carry out these projects. So they must rely on international experts and new, unproven technology to make these deepwater fields productive.
This is a risky strategy - not to mention an expensive one.
The first wells drilled in the exploration cost as much as $100 million each. Petrobras' development plans for 2011-2015 include $224 billion in total investments to fund 688 projects.