Petrobras Makes its Biggest Oil Field Sale Ever to Statoil at $15.1B

(Bloomberg) - Petroleo Brasileiro SA made its biggest oil field sale ever to Statoil ASA in a major step to meeting a $15.1 billion divestment target as it works to cut leverage and reduce expenditures.

Statoil will pay $2.5 billion for Petrobras’s 66 percent operating interest in the BM-S-8 offshore license in the Santos basin, which holds the giant Carcara discovery. Petrobras’s shares rose 2.5 percent to 11.73 reais at 11:51 a.m. in Sao Paulo. Shares of QGEP Participacoes SA, a minority partner at the project, jumped as much as 40 percent.

“This is an emblematic transaction,” Chief Financial Officer Ivan Monteiro told reporters in Sao Paulo on Friday. “It completes one year of talks, one year of negotiations.”

The state-controlled company has agreed to sell $4.6 billion in oil fields and energy infrastructure since it announced the two-year divestment plan in 2015. Recent sales include oil fields in Argentina and gas stations in Chile, as the company looks to focus its capital and human resources on a group of massive offshore discoveries in Brazil. The deal gives Statoil a longer future in Brazil now that its major project, Peregrino, has fallen from peak production levels.

Petrobras is also looking to sell a group of onshore oil fields, fuel unit BR Distribuidora, and natural gas and petrochemical infrastructure, Monteiro said.

The Carcara deal will help Petrobras reduce leverage and relieve it from heavy investments expected to start in 2018 when development work at Carcara begins, Exploration and Production head Solange Guedes told reporters at the same press conference. Carcara is still under exploration and will require expensive production equipment in two years, she said. Petrobras currently pumps about 90 percent of the oil and gas produced in Brazil.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sabrina Valle in Rio de Janeiro at svalle@bloomberg.net ;Fabiana Batista in Sao Paulo at fbatista6@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at dmarino4@bloomberg.net Peter Millard, Walter Brandimarte

Copyright 2016 Bloomberg News.

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