Brazil’s troubled state oil firm Petrobras announced it was able to pay off $1.25b it owed to the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) using half of the proceeds gained from the sale of an offshore oilfield in July.
The energy giant – steeped in debt, scarred by a huge corruption scandal and reeling from the global slump in the price of oil – made the early settlement with the state development bank as part of its programme of asset divestment to reduce its debt, which is the biggest of any oil company in the world.
This programme set Petrobras a target of raising around $35bn from asset sell-offs between 2015 and 2019.
Petrobras, holder of huge offshore drilling rights, was able to pay back the BNDES loan after selling its 66% operated stake in the exploration block BM-S-8 in the Santos Basin to Norwegian giant Statoil for $2.5bn. The debt repayment amounted to about half the value of the sale.
The loan being repaid was used to finance the Petrobras subsidiary Transportadora Associada de Gas.