Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. said Wednesday it had received $426.65 million in payment from Seacrest Petróleo SPE Norte Capixaba Ltda concluding the sale of four production concessions in Espírito Santo state.
The transaction involves all of Petrobras’ interests in Norte Capixaba Cluster, whose operatorship until this divestment had been held 100 percent by Petrobras. It comprises four onshore fields: Cancã, Fazenda Alegre, Fazenda São Rafael and Fazenda Santa Luzia.
The conclusion of the sale comes amid a row between Petrobras and the new Brazilian government over the state-owned company’s divestments. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva earlier ordered that Petrobras be removed from the privatization program initiated by his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, public broadcaster Agência Brasil reported January 4.
Norte Capixaba Cluster accounts for 3.3 percent of Petrobras output in the southeastern state. The cluster produced about 4.6 thousand barrels of oil per day and 769,859.73 cubic feet (21,800 cubic meters) of natural gas per day on average in the first quarter of 2023, according to Petrobras.
The payment made Tuesday means “the fulfillment of all precedent conditions has been concluded” but Seacrest still owes Petrobras up to $66 million in contingent payments to be based on future prices of international crude benchmark Brent, state-owned Petrobras said in a disclosure to investors.
The sale is valued $544 million in total. Seacrest had paid $35.85 million upon the signing of the purchase deal.
“With the conclusion of the assignment, Seacrest assumes the condition of operator of the fields of Norte Capixaba Cluster and other production facilities”, Petrobras said.
Petrobras still has operations in Espírito Santo, “where the company maintains operations in important deepwater fields, notably Parque das Baleias, in addition to 7 exploratory areas”. The state also hosts the company’s Cacimbas and Sul Capixaba natural gas processing units, as well as Barra do Riacho Waterway Terminal.
“The company maintains its commitments made in the Strategic Plan 2023-27 for the State of Espírito Santo, with emphasis on the deployment of the Maria Quitéria platform at Parque das Baleias, the interconnection of new wells and an increase in its production curve by 2027”, it added.
Besides a targeted investment of around $20 billion in chartering new platforms, the plan projects $78 billion in capital investments for the company’s overall operations over the five years. “This amount is higher than the average of the last six strategic plans, which was US$ 72 billion, and signals that investments have returned to the pre-covid level”, stated the plan published November 30, 2022.
The exploration and production segment gets the bulk of the $78 billion with 83 percent, followed by refining, gas and power with 12 percent.
Petrobras collected last year $4.8 billion in payments from asset sales, it said in its performance report for the 2022 fourth quarter released March 1, 2023.
“From January 1, 2022, to March 01, 2023, we concluded the sale of the Alagoas, Recôncavo, Peroá and Fazenda Belém Clusters, Albacora East field, exploratory blocks in Parana and Potiguar Basins, our equity interests in Deten Química and Gaspetro, and SIX and REMAN Refineries. We also signed the contracts for the sale of the Potiguar, Norte Capixaba, Golfinho and Camarupim Clusters and LUBNOR Refinery”, it said.
These sales came before the Energy and Mines Ministry requested the suspension of assets sales as Brazil’s new administration reviews the country’s energy policies. Petrobras said March 1 it had received a request from the ministry “requesting the suspension of the sales of assets for 90 (ninety) days, due to the reassessment of the National Energy Policy currently underway and the establishment of a new composition of the National Energy Policy Council”.
Earlier in January, Lula da Silva also removed Petrobras from a Bolsonaro privatization plan, along with seven other companies, according to Agência Brasil. The move is to “ensure a rigorous analysis of the impacts of privatization on the public service or on the market in which the economic activity in question is inserted”, Lula da Silva was quoted by the state media as saying in the January 2 decision.
Petrobras however has signified defiance over its divestments plan. It said March 29, “after conducting a preliminary study on the divestment processes in progress, no reasons were found to suspend those projects for which contracts have already been signed”.
To contact the author, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Published at Thu, 13 Apr 2023 13:00:00 -0700