San Francisco: Brazilian politicians were predicting on Friday that the country’s senate will vote yes on a bill to remove oil giant Petrobras from its premier position as a developer of the prized pre-salt offshore oilfields.
This would be doing Petrobras a favour in light of the company’s stretched resources amidst its ongoing corruption scandal combined with the oil business downturn.
As things stand Petrobras has a legal obligation to assume at least 30% ownership of all pre-salt projects and operate them. But the company lacks the money to cover its share of development after racking up $125bn in debt.
If the Senate gives Petrobras the chance to opt out of its obligation it could be a win-win all round. Members of the opposition political party the PMDB seem to be lining up to make it happen.
The pre-salt region is a layer of salt formed at the end of the Mesozoic Era when dinosaurs lived. The salt layer traps crude oil beneath the Atlantic seabed. Tapping the deposits requires giant floating platforms that cost as much as $700,000 per day to lease.
The deregulation plan is opposed by national president Dilma Rousseff.