This Brazilian Oil Giant is Running Out of Time to Pay Back $24 Billion

November 20, 2015, 6:51 PM UTC
Parcial view of a Petrobras petrol station with Rio's landmark Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado hill in the background, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 19, 2015. Petrobras giant state-owned oil company on Thursday announced that they will offer in the stock market at least the 25 % of their chain of petrol stations as part of a 14 million dollars investment plan up to next year. AFP PHOTO/VANDERLEI ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Vanderlei Almeida —AFP/Getty Images

Brazilian oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA is in trouble—a reported $24 billion dollars worth of trouble. The struggling energy company needs to repay that amount to creditors within two years, and it’s unclear where it will get the funds.

Repayment seems unlikely in the short term. The price of oil has declined and the value of Brazil’s currency, the real, has weakened (most of the company’s debt is in dollars), as noted by the Wall Street Journal. Default also seems unlikely, reports Bloomberg, citing Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s conclusions that the semi-public company is simply too big to fail.

The most likely outcomes, according to Bloomberg, are government intervention or continued borrowing—or both. The state could relieve the company of fixed gas and diesel prices or else secure favorable terms on new loans, though neither is without risk. Raising gas prices would undoubtedly make the already tense social climate even worse, while more lending is ill-advised, given the already sky-high levels of corporate leverage, notes Bloomberg.

Continued borrowing from international creditors may be the more realistic option, particularly from China, which has already lent billions to the company.

Either way, the clock is ticking, and investors are sure to be getting antsy.

Fortune has contacted Petrobras for comment and will update this story if the company responds.