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Petrobras to invest $19 bln in 2017, sees cash enough for 2 1/2 years

(Corrects to say 2017 instead of 2019 in headline, paragraph 1)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Petróleo Brasileiro SA expects to spend $19 billion in exploration, production and refining projects this year, above last year's, signaling that efforts to reduce debt and preserve cash are helping Brazil's state-controlled oil company regain investment capacity.

Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente told reporters at an event in Rio de Janeiro that fuel pricing policies will strictly follow market guidelines. Existing cash of about $22 billion at the start of this week should be enough to allow Petrobras to undertake activities for two and half years, Parente and other executives said.

(Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Additional reporting by Roberto Samora in São Paulo; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)