Petrobras on Friday denied reports from earlier in the week that had Brazil’s debt-laden state oil firm selling off a quarter of its 40% stake in the Libra offshore oilfield.
The company, saddled with the biggest debt (around $130bn) of any oil firm in the world, has been cutting back budgets and investment plans and selling off assets in an effort to ease the bleeding caused by overreach, the oil-price plunge and the effects of its infamous bribes-for-inflated-contracts corruption scandal.
But, for now at least, it appears a sell-off of 10% of the Libra field is not imminent, according to a company spokesman, even though industry analysts say such a sale could fetch as much as $1.5bn.
The Libra field in the Santos basin, 140 miles offshore Rio de Janeiro, is estimated to contain between 8bn and 12bn barrels of recoverable oil and gas equivalent.
Meanwhile New York-based ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service has lowered Petrobras’ credit rating further into junk territory and warned of a possible further downgrade.
Moody’s lowered Petrobras’ debt from Ba2 from Ba3, consistent with the agency putting the entire Brazilian nation’s debt rating on review for a downgrade.
Analysts fear a negative snowball effect as the junk rating of Petrobras’ credit rating could cause conservative investment funds to sell their stakes in the company.