PetroReconcavo negotiates purchase of Petrobras’ onshore fields


PetroReconcavo has begun direct negotiations with Petrobras for the purchase of a cluster of 34 oil fields in the Northeast, two oil industry sources told Reuters.

Petrobras has opened negotiations with the Salvador-based company after 3R Petroleum did not receive financing for the acquisition of the fields for $ 453 million, announced at the end of November, sources said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal matters.

The sources pointed out that the $ 453 million offer was considered aggressive, and that PetroReconcavo will probably offer less for the fields, located in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, jointly known as Riacho da Forquilha.

Petrobras did not respond to requests for comments, as did Ricardo Savini, a partner at 3R Petroleum. Marcelo Magalhães, PetroReconcavo’s chief executive, declined to comment.

Brazil’s largest oil company by capitalization, Petrobras is aggressively selling non-core assets to reduce its high debt burden and focus on deepwater production and exploration.

While much attention is focused on assets such as the TAG gas pipeline, which is expected to bring billions of dollars to the state-owned oil company, the company also advances divestments in dozens of oil and gas fields onshore and offshore.

Still, asset sales often face setbacks. In January, Reuters reported that Petrobras has declined an offer from a company backed by EIG Energy Partners to buy two shallow-water oil fields.

The negotiations with PetroReconcavo were initially disclosed by Upstream Online. The publication also reported that Petrobras also entered into exclusive talks with the independent oil company PetroRio regarding the sale of its Baúna shallow water field.

In January, Reuters revealed that PetroRio and Australia’s Karoon Energy were among the companies bidding on the field. Brazilian Karavan, a close relationship company with Schlumberger NV, also bid for the area, according to people familiar with the matter.

PetroRio did not respond on request for comments.

In an internal document late last year, PetroReconcavo said it was planning a bid for Petrobras’ multiple oilfields and had already submitted a bid for a set of gas fields known as Miranga.

Riacho da Forquilha, a relatively small field, produced 8,748 barrels per day of oil and 332,000 cubic meters per day of gas as of the end of 2016, according to the latest public figures of Petrobras. Still, it is among the highest-yielding assets currently on the block.

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