San Francisco: Petrobras announced on Wednesday it is selling its stakes in two offshore oilfields to a Brazilian company, immediately attracting the interest of major players from China in other fields that may be up for grabs.
Brazil’s state-run energy giant is forced into the sell-off in order to pay down its huge debts, the biggest in the international oil industry.
It is also studying ways to sell part of its fuel-distribution unit.
A combination of overreaching investments, industry downturn and the negative effects of the corruption scandal that bears its name have put Petrobras in this selling position.
It agreed to sell its 20 percent interests in the Bijupirá and Salema oil and natural gas fields in Brazil’s Campos Basin northeast of Rio de Janeiro to Petro Rio SA for $25 million.
Both sales are aimed at helping meet a promise made on Monday to raise $15.1 billion with asset sales by the end of 2016, part of a new five-year plan.
Two Chinese companies – Sinopec and CNOOC – who have been involved in Brazil’s giant deep-water oilfields for two years already, are said by industry experts to be interested in buying stakes in some of Petrobras’ pre-salt offshore exploration blocks.