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Brazil's HRT: Namibia Regulators Approve Stake Sale to Galp

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RIO DE JANEIRO--Brazilian oil startup HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA (HRTPY, HRTP3.BR) said late Thursday that Namibia's Mines and Energy Ministry approved the sale of a stake in three offshore blocks to Portugal's Galp Energia (GALP.LB).

In the deal, first announced in November, the two companies said that Galp had acquired a 14% stake in the three exploration blocks in return for covering a portion of drilling costs.

The deal helps clear the way for HRT to start drilling in the highly prospective region off Namibia's coast, which geologists believe could hold an area similar to Brazil's subsalt because the two areas were connected millions of years ago. Billions of barrels of crude oil were discovered under a thick layer of salt in the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil.

"We can confirm we will commence operations in [first-quarter 2013] for our exploratory campaign in Namibia," HRT Chief Executive Marcio Rocha Mello said in a statement. Earlier this month, HRT recently received the drilling rig that will be used to drill exploration wells in the offshore blocks.

Oil-industry consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton pegged average prospective resources for HRT's offshore acreage in Namibia at 7.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Average prospective resources are a preliminary measure used by the industry to indicate oil volumes that could be recovered from undiscovered deposits.

HRT holds operating stakes in 10 blocks and minority shares in two others in the Walvis, Orange and Namibe basins.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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