Brazil’s PetroRio and Australia’s Karoon Energy are among the companies bidding for the Baúna field in the shallow waters of the Santos Basin, which Petrobras has put up for sale, two sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
With an oil output of around 34,000 barrels per day, Baúna is among the largest mature production assets in the oil divestment portfolio, which forecasts asset sales of $ 26.9 billion by 2023.
Although the sources did not reveal a potential value, PetroRio had previously placed an offer of about 500 million dollars for Baúna in 2016, which did not materialize.
Oil prices have risen moderately since then.
By way of comparison, for the sale of the somewhat more productive Pampo and Enchova clusters in the Campos Basin, which are being sold together, they were considered offers of about 1 billion dollars in June.
Karoon and Petrobras said they would not comment. PetroRio did not respond to a request for comment.
One source said other bidders were involved in the tender, and it was possible that neither PetroRio nor Karoon would emerge as the concession winners for more than 20 years. Petrobras may enter into exclusive deals with one of those interested parties within weeks, sources said.
This is the second time that PetroRio and Karoon have tried to buy Baúna.
Karoon entered exclusive negotiations in 2016 to purchase the area as well as the Tartaruga Verde field, but was overturned following a court injunction. Karoon at the time beat PetroRio’s $ 500 million offer, which was strictly for Baúna.
For PetroRio, the asset fits well with the strategy of the independent oil company to acquire holdings in mature oil fields to increase its productivity.
For Karoon, which has said it remains interested in Baúna, the asset would show significant synergies with the nearby Kangaroo and Echidna oil discoveries.
Petrobras is selling its holdings in shallow, mature fields while reorienting its efforts to the important pre-salt areas.
There is some legal uncertainty hovering over Bauna’s alienation. In December, Minister Marco Aurélio Mello of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) suspended the effects of a decree that defines governance rules for the assignment of Petrobras’ rights to explore, develop and produce oil and gas.
Subsequently, Petrobras informed that it understands that the decision does not affect processes of assignment of rights of exploration and production “initiated before May of 2018”.
The preconditions for the sale of Baúna were announced in April.