BG Nears Partner Deal on Brazil Barreirinhas Basin


LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - BG Group Plc is close to a deal or deals that would reduce its 100 percent holdings in a group of six exploration licence blocks off Brazil's coast, the company said on Tuesday, a signal it aims to push ahead promptly with drilling there.

The assets are in Brazil's Barreirinhas Basin, a prospect it calls a "frontier position" and says may contain more than 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

BG won the assets as part of a licensing round in May, Brazil's first in five years and one which raised a record $1.4 billion.

Unusually for offshore Brazil, where state-controlled Petrobras dominates operatorship of fields, the British oil and gas group is the operator of all 10 it bought into. It sees the Barreirinhas as its 2013 contribution to a company target of one new basin entry per year to keep its project pipeline filled.

It holds 50 percent of four Barreirinhas blocks in partnership with Petrobras and Galp Energia of Portugal, and 100 percent of a further six blocks in which it wants to bring in a partner or partners.

Selling stakes in acreage to other companies at an early stage is called a farm-down and is common practice in the oil industry to spread risk and exploration and development cost.

"So at the moment we are 100 percent, and I know that we are involved in one thing at the moment to change that," said Malcolm Brown, BG's executive vice president for exploration. "It's active portfolio management at the exploration phase".


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