A Brazilian judge provisionally suspended a ruling that had barred Petrobras from carrying out import and export operations due to an outstanding tax obligation totaling some 7.3 billion reais ($3.7 billion).

The Superior Court of Justice, or TSJ, on Monday invalidated a Certificate of Good Standing that a lower-court judge had provisionally granted the company and which, until then, had allowed it to conduct import and export transactions while fighting the tax dispute in court.

But Benedito Gonçalves, a TSJ justice, said Friday he had reviewed that decision and that the certificate would remain valid until the company's appeals have been studied and a final verdict is issued in the case.

Brazilian authorities have sued Petrobras for back withholding taxes allegedly owed on payments to foreign companies to lease oil platforms between 1999 and 2002.

In a statement Friday, Petrobras said it was "adopting the necessary measures so that, in a brief period of time, its Certificate of Good Standing is reestablished."

It added that, despite Monday's court ruling, "there is no risk of interruption of its operations or shortages of petroleum or derivatives in the country."

Although Petrobras achieved record output last month of 2.1 million refined barrels per day, it still needs to import nearly 400,000 bpd to meet domestic demand, and therefore Monday's ruling had sparked fears of possible fuel shortages.

In its statement Friday, Petrobras also said it would continue to fight the dispute in the courts because it believes it was exempt from the taxes in question at the time the alleged irregularities occurred. EFE