Brazil’s Economy Ministry has denied reports saying it would pay $14bn to state-owned energy firm Petrobras to settle a dispute over an oil-producing zone off the country’s coast, Reuters has reported.
The dispute started in 2010, when the Brazilian government granted Petrobras the right to extract 5bn barrels of oil and gas in the offshore Santos Basin. The government received additional shares in Petrobras in return, based on oil prices at the time. However, the volume of oil in the area is now estimated to be much larger, and the government wants to sell the rights to extract the extra oil.
The ministry said the figure was only one of several proposals passed to the transition team of President Jair Bolsonaro by his predecessor Michel Temer. The final amount has not yet been decided.
In the meantime, Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said he expected the dispute to be resolved within 100 days, although the amount Petrobras was owed and the form of payment was still under discussion.
New Petrobras CEO Roberto Castello Branco delivered his inaugural speech yesterday in which he emphasized the importance of efficiently exploiting the country’s enormous inventory of natural wealth.
“The company’s core competency is in oil exploration and production in large fields in ultra-deep waters. The focus should be on the assets of which Petrobras is the natural owner, those from which it can get the maximum possible return,” Branco said.