Eurasia: New sub-salt rule will favor the sale of Petrobras assets/Valor

Petrobras’ goal to sell $ 19 billion in assets between 2017 and 2018 is ambitious, but the changes in the pre-salt exploration rules, ending the obligation to be the operator with minimum 30% participation, should help make the company’s assets be more accessible and attractive, evaluates the Eurasia Group.

In a report, the consultancy said they expect this change in legislation to pass by the House next month. The new rule will help the government to conduct a new round of oil concessions and at the same time will be able to set the rules for the unitization of the nearby fields to areas already auctioned.

The change will help Petrobras to sell existing exploration and production assets, says Eurasia. According to the consultancy, the company’s ability to sell these assets will be greater with the auctions.

In 2016, Petrobras maintained the goal of selling a total of US $ 15.1 billion in assets, but so far only closed about $ 5 billion in sales. There is also the sale of Nova Transportadora do Sudeste (NTS) for $ 5.2 billion, which still awaits approval by the company’s board, bringing the total to $ 10 billion. “With more assets to disinvest in exploration and production and refining, and the expectation that the new government is serious in implementing pro-market reforms in the coming months, the revised disinvestment goal is attainable”, says Eurasia.

The firm cites Petrobras’ plan to reduce its high debt. Eurasia has not completely rule out financial assistance from the government, but says it would be unlikely at this point because the adjustments implemented by the company appear to be on track.

On fuel prices, Eurasia stressed that Petrobras should voluntarily reduce margins with derivatives sales to prices at the international parity.

In the coming months, Petrobras faces two risks. The first is the continuation of the investigation of the Lava-Jato operation, which can bring revelations that may raise the need for new suspension of contracts or legal proceedings. “Our vision, however, is that the investigation should be consolidated – and lose power – early next year,” says the consultancy.

The other risk in the short and medium term, is the labor issue. Petrobras is trying to negotiate the salary increase to employees, but unions threatened to go on strike.

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