There were conflicting signals surrounding Petrobras on Tuesday as Reuters revealed the Brazilian oil giant’s plans to cut its five-year investment plan by 20% while the company also cancelled a contract to sell its stake in an offshore project to fellow Brazilian firm PetroRio.
Petrobras – Brazil’s troubled state oil firm – has the biggest debt of any oil company in the world and is reeling from the effects of the price-fixing and kickbacks scandal that has blighted its name over the past year.
By taking the axe to its investment plan Petrobras will reduce it to $89bn from a previous plan for $98.4bn, according to Reuters.
Back in the good times before the corruption scandal and the plummet in the price of oil, Petrobras had a five-year plan to invest $235bn from 2012 to 2016.
It also has separate plans, previously announced, to divest itself of $15.1bn in assets over the 2015-16 period. That’s why the decision to pull out of its agreement with PetroRio is puzzling.
Petrobras gave no reason for terminating the $25m deal by which PetroRio was to have bought 20% stakes in two offshore oil fields that Petrobras operates in conjunction with Shell Brasil Petroleo, which is Royal Dutch Shell’s Brazilian subsidiary.
Shell Brasil Petroleo had, two weeks ago, also pulled out of a similar deal with PetroRio to sell its 80% share in the two fields for $150m.
The fields in question are the Bijupira and Salema fields in the Campos Basin about 150 miles east of Rio de Janeiro.