MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Brazil’s Petrobras is mulling the sale of a majority stake in four of its 13 oil refineries, the state-led energy giant said on Thursday.
According to a securities filing, Petrobras is considering offering investors a 60% stake in two regional blocks comprising the 115,000 bbl/day Abreu e Lima and 323,000 bbl/day Landulpho Alves refineries in the northeast of Brazil, and the 207,000 bbl/day Presidente Getulio Vargas and 201,000 bbl/day Alberto Pasqualini refineries in the south.
Petrobras would hold on to a 40% stake in both blocks, while retaining its 100% stake in its nine other refineries. The company’s share in Brazil’s refining circuit would be reduced to 75%, down from a current 99%.
The offer, which includes five fuel terminals in the northeast and seven in the south, would be placed on the market simultaneously, while different partners would be selected for each block, the company said.
Due to its complexity, the offer, which has to be approved by Petrobras’s executive and directors’ boards, would happen next year at the earliest, the company said.
The proposal was due to be discussed with ministers and oil and gas executives in a seminar on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro.
The plans are in line with the company’s multi-billion-dollar divestment programme to cut costs, generate cash and focus more on its core activities.
“The load placed on Petrobras’s shoulders was too big,” the head of Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP), Dedio Oddone, was quoted as saying by official state news channel Agencia Brasil. “Brazil is too large for just one company to be responsible for everything in the oil and gas sector.”
Meanwhile, a Reuters report on Thursday said Petrobras was close to finalising a deal that would see state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) investing in the Complexo Petroquimico do Rio de Janeiro (Comperj) in exchange for crude oil.
Quoting two sources, Reuters said Petrobras could give CNPC a stake in oil fields it operates in Rio de Janeiro’s Campos Basin, and the right to use Comperj.
Petrobras has previously confirmed that it was in talks with Chinese investors to inject capital into Comperj, although no mention had been made of any swap deal.
A company spokesperson declined to comment on the report.
The construction of Comperj, located in Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro state, came to a standstill in 2014 amid the fallout from the so-called Lava Jato (Car Wash) probe into a massive bribes-for-contracts scandal at Petrobras.
Last month, Petrobras awarded a consortium comprising China’s Shandong Kerui Petroleum and Brazil’s Metodo Potencial a Brazilian reais (R) 1.95bn ($573.5m) contract to complete the construction of a natural gas processing unit at Comperj.
The unit, part of the Rota 3 natural gas project designed to transport and process gas feedstock from Petrobras’s Bacia de Santos pre-salt cluster, is 36% complete.