November 4, 2019
Petrobras requested another six months from the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) to comply with its determination to sell blocks and fields in which it suspended its investment plans. Under the current term, the company has until December 31 to sell the assets. The request will be reviewed by the agency’s collegiate board on the 7th.
The measure came from a decision of the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE) in 2016, and reaches altogether 200 Round Zero fields operated by the company. It began to be regulated by the ANP in 2018.
The executive secretary of the Brazilian Association of Independent Oil Producers (Abpip), Anabal dos Santos Jr., expressed concern about Petrobras’ request. It understands that its approval may delay divestment and new entrants to onshore projects.
It also questions the ANP’s deadlines for reviewing the request, stating that the agency took 12 months to authorize Perenco to take over the Carapeba, Pargo and Vermelho fields, all in the Campos Basin, and nine months to authorize PetroRecôncavo to take over the operation of the 34 onshore fields at the Riacho da Forquilha cluster, in the Potiguar Basin.
”Petrobras, after three years saying that it wants to sell the offshore fields, submits a request and is scheduled to be decided by the ANP’s board. Assignment processes, which should in fact be a simple administrative act of operator exchange, therefore of low complexity, should not have priority over this one, which is another request for postponement of time. Let’s see what will be the position of the board of the ANP, ”said the secretary of Abpip.
ANP’s Director-General, Décio Oddone, understands that Petrobras deserves credit, as the program for the sale of fields that will no longer receive investments is advancing.
“What matters to society is that the fields are transferred as soon as possible to companies that invest in them right away. Petrobras has been giving demonstrations that it is really committed to advancing the processes. And it is advancing. They deserve credit for that. Problems and delays can occur and happen. Extending the deadline by a few more months is more productive and efficient for the Union, states, and municipalities to initiate a process to get these fields back into operation via permanent offer. Having a formal discussion about this at the ANP, I am inclined to advocate giving some longer term, ”commented ANP Director-General Décio Oddone.
What has Petrobras sold?
Both the areas being offered within the Topazio Project, where Petrobras is divesting in just over 100 onshore fields, and the Arctico Project, where the company is selling 30 shallow water fields, are part of the 200 focus areas of the decision. ANP.
Petrobras has two options. The first is to assign rights from an auction that the ANP itself can help or return the areas to the agency, which would place the fields in the permanent offer of areas.
Balance of assets sold by Petrobras
Since 2018 , Petrobras was able to move forward with the sale of part of these assets and began the sale of others. In April, PetroRecôncavo closed the sale for US$ 384.2 million of 34 onshore fields in the Riacho da Forquilha Cluster, in the Potiguar Basin, around the city of Mossoró, in Rio Grande do Norte.
Four months later, it announced the sale for US$ 191.1 million of seven fields that are part of the Macau Polo in the Potiguar Basin for SPE 3R Petroleum S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of 3R Petroleum and Participations. The Macau Cluster encompasses the Aratum, Macau, Serra, Salina Cristal, Lagoa Aroeira , Porto Carão and Sanhaçu fields.
Last Friday Petrobras published the teaser of 15 onshore exploratory blocks, located in the Sergipe-Alagoas Basin. These are concessions contracted between 2013 and 2014, in the 11th and 12th ANP bidding rounds. The areas offered are in the early stages of exploration, with newly acquired 3D seismic data but no drilled wells.