Consortium of 3R and DBO negotiates purchase of gas field from Petrobras, sources say

(Reuters) – A consortium formed by Brazil’s 3R Petroleum and DBO Energy, linked to Norway, is in bilateral negotiations with Petrobras to acquire a group of offshore natural gas fields, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the subject.

The Peroá Cluster, located on the coast of Espírito Santo, would be among the first totally natural gas fields sold by Petrobras, amid a comprehensive effort by the company to end its almost monopoly in the country’s natural gas chain.

Until the last few years, Petrobras operated effectively alone in most of the segments linked to natural gas in Brazil. Recently, however, the company has started selling pipelines and transport and distribution assets, in a move with which the company and the government hope to foster competition.

Several international companies already produce significant amounts of natural gas in Brazil, operating oil fields where the associated gas is removed during the production process. Much of this gas, however, is reinjected, and a limited portion is produced in gas-only fields.

Petrobras and 3R did not respond to requests for comment. DBO declined to comment.

In 2019, the Peroá Cluster produced just under 1 million cubic meters of gas per day, although in previous years it produced a volume several times greater. The asset also includes the Malombe prospect, discovered in 2011, which according to studies can produce up to 2.5 million cubic meters of gas daily if developed.

Due in part to the mature profile of Peroá, it is expected to be sold at a relatively low price compared to other production assets offered by Petrobras in the area, said the sources, who asked to remain anonymous for the discussion of confidential matters.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, DBO is comprised of Brazilian and Norwegian executives, and lists RWE Supply & Trading, the arm of German company RWE AG, as an investor.

3R, founded in part by former Petrobras executives, is supported by investment company Starboard Restructuring Partners. In early September, the oil company requested registration for an initial public offering (IPO), with the objective of buying more oil fields from Petrobras, paying for acquisitions already made and expanding its cash position.

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