Petrobras Expects Progress on Divestment Plan in Short, Medium Term

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian state-run energy company Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, expects to make progress on potential asset sales in the short and medium term, Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa said Monday.

Speaking at a press conference to discuss the company's third-quarter earnings, Mr. Barbassa said that the company had already boosted cash by 5.8 billion Brazilian reais ($2.86 billion) by restructuring working capital. Petrobras has also reduced exposure to future exploration costs by selling down stakes in blocks off the coast of Africa, he added.

Petrobras plans to divest some $15 billion through 2016 as it spends $237 billion over the next five years to develop deep-water oil fields known as subsalt. The company has also put up refineries in Japan and the U.S. up for sale, as well as Petrobras's stakes in fields in the Gulf of Mexico.

Petrobras hopes to carry out the asset sales "in the initial phases" of the 2012-2016 investment plan, Mr. Barbassa said. Petrobras said previously that it hoped to announce some asset sales in the second half of 2012.


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