Petrobras Eyes Five Major Assets in New Divestment Program


SAO PAULO, March 31 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA is eyeing five major assets for a renewed divestment program to be formalized in the next two weeks, after a court forced it to restart most of its $21 billion asset sale program from scratch.

In a securities filing on Friday, Petrobras, as the firm is known, said new divestments may include fuel distribution unit BR Distribuidora, shallow offshore fields in the states of Sergipe and Ceará, the Baúna and Tartaruga Verde oil fields in the Santos and Campos Basins, onshore fields in the state of Sergipe, and deepwater rights in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ruling by Brazil's federal audit court earlier this month allowed Petrobras to proceed with the sale of liquefied gas unit Liquigas, gas pipeline unit NTS and petrochemical companies Suape and Citepe, which already had firm buyers.

The sale of a stake in the Saint Malo field in the Gulf of Mexico was also exempted from the court ruling, but Petrobras said it would be called off because it "did not achieve the expected results," without elaborating.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Petrobras scrapped the sale of the Baúna and Tartaruga Verde fields because the deal fell through after the Australian buyer's partner backed out amid protracted legal challenges in Brazil.

Since Chief Executive Pedro Parente took charge in May 2016, Petrobras has pursued aggressive asset sales as it sought to cut the largest debt burden among global oil firms.

The Brazilian firm is particularly keen on restarting the sale process of BR Distribuidora, the country's largest fuel distributor and retailer, with 7,500 gas stations nationwide.

(Additional reporting by Gustavo Bonato; Editing by Brad Haynes and Bernadette Baum)


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