Brazil's state-run oil giant Petrobras said Friday that its third-quarter profit fell 26 percent year-on-year largely due to a significant drop in the value of the country's currency, the real. Latin America's biggest company reported third-quarter profit of 6.34 billion reals ($3.727 billion), down from 8.57 billion reals in the same period last year. Profit was down 42 percent as compared to the previous quarter. "Profits were affected by the 19 percent depreciation of the real," Almir Barbassa, the company's chief financial officer, told a press conference. Petrobras reported earnings of $16.625 billion over the first nine months of the year, 15 percent more than during the same period of 2010. In July, the company unveiled plans to invest $224.7 billion for the 2011-2015 period, up slightly from the previous 2010-2014 proposal. The Petrobras board of directors, presided over by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega, approved the business plan after reportedly rejecting two previous proposals, as it called on the company to rein in spending. The plan set the goal for Brazil's oil and gas production for 2011 at 2.1 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) and 434,000 barrels of gas. It estimated an increase in production in 2015, to a total of up to 3.07 million bpd, and of 4.9 million bpd by 2020. Last year, Petrobras posted record profits of $20 billion, a 17 percent increase from 2009 due to increased production and higher oil prices. In March, Petrobras, a world leader in deepwater drilling technology, received permission from the United States to begin deep water oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. In June, Petrobras said it had, jointly with Exxon Mobil, discovered up to 700 million barrels of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico, in what it described as "one of the greatest discoveries" in the area in the last decade. And earlier this month, the company announced another new oil find in the Gulf of Mexico, some 400 kilometers (240 miles) southwest of New Orleans.