Petrobras mulls shedding energy assets in Peru

Oct. 31, 2013 at 8:00 PM
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LIMA, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Brazilian state oil company Petrobras hopes to raise cash from the sale of its assets in Peru as part of a continuing effort to ease its debt burden.

Petrobras is under pressure not only to reverse a revenue slide but also to find new cash to add to funds it needs to finance an ambitious energy development program in Brazil.

After a spate of recent oil discoveries, Brazil is keen to start benefiting from those finds. A joint government and business effort orchestrated by the administration of President Dilma Rousseff aims to boost investments in the country's energy industries.

Petrobras hopes to raise more than $2 billion from the sale of its interests in Peru, and the likely buyer will be China National Petroleum Corp., industry sources said.

CNPC is nearing an agreement to buy Petrobras assets in Peru in a deal likely to be announced in November, Bloomberg said.

In September Petrobras announced the sale of Petrobras Colombia Ltd. to Perenco for $380 million. The sale included 11 onshore exploration and production blocks with net average production of 6,530 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and the Colombia and Alto Magdalena oil pipelines.

Petrobras will keep its presence in Colombia through offshore exploratory blocks, distribution and one onshore exploratory asset.

Petrobras began operations in Peru in 1996. Its assets in the country include oil production and exploration. The company's Peru operations include about 16,000 barrels a day in oil production and stakes in exploration assets in the Maranon, Huallaga and Madre de Dios basins.

Petrobras also owns a minority stake in Block 57 in Peru's Amazonian region, operated by the Spanish oil major Repsol S.A., as well as other natural gas resources.

Preplanned divestment measures raised about $4.3 billion in asset sales by Petrobras that will go toward meeting a target to raise about $9.9 billion by 2017.

Petrobras reported a 40 percent drop in its third-quarter profit but the company still has a long way to go both in terms of raising cash through disinvestment and spending on new energy development in Brazil.

Brazil's five-year plan calls for a $237 billion spending between this year and 2017 on developing deepwater offshore oil fields and building refineries to handle crude oil shipped in from distant fields. It's not yet clear how Brazil will meet the spending target.

Alongside disinvestment, Petrobras continues to invest where it sees strategic advantage. In October Petrobras acquired 40 percent of the Libra field in Brazil in an auction organized by the government. The total cost of developing the Libra field, the largest discovery in Brazil's history, is yet to be determined.

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