ONGC, Petrobras, Ecopetrol to Swap Brazil Block Stakes

NEW DELHI (Dow Jones)

India's state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY) said Wednesday it has agreed to swap stakes in two Brazilian blocks with Brazil's state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), or Petrobras, and Colombia's Ecopetrol SA (EC).

The swap will help the companies cut their exploratory risks.

ONGC Campos Limitada, a unit of ONGC's overseas investment arm ONGC Videsh Ltd., will give 43.5% in its wholly owned BM-S-73 block to Petrobras and 13% to Ecopetrol, it said in a statement.

ONGC Campos will get 43.5% from Petrobras and Ecopetrol in their block BM-S-74, meaning post-transfer Petrobras will have 43.5% and Ecopetrol will hold 13%.

ONGC had bagged offshore exploratory BM-S-73 block, located in the Santos basin, during a bidding round in 2007.

Brazil's regulatory authority National Petroleum Agency has given approval for a BM-S-73 farm-in, ONGC said, adding approval for farm-in block BM-S-74 is expected shortly.

The companies didn't disclose any financial details of the transaction.

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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