(Adds details, background, paragraphs 2-10)
By Rodrigo Viga Gaier
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 30 Brazil may let state-led
oil company Petrobras sell stakes in offshore oil blocks, known
as transfer of rights areas, to help finance their development,
a move that will require a change in the law, an energy ministry
official said on Friday.
Developing the 5 billion barrels of oil and equivalent gas
rights that Petrobras purchased in 2010 in the areas, also known
as the Cessao Onerosa, would be far easier and put less strain
on Petrobras if it was done with partners, Oil and Gas Secretary
Marcio Felix told reporters in Rio de Janeiro.
Partners make more sense if Petrobras receives additional
oil from the government in compensation for the decline in the
value of the oil rights since it bought them in 2010. The
government and Petrobras are renegotiating that price in talks
Felix expects to e complete in December, Felix added.
"The entry of a partner is a natural inference, not only for
the 5 billion but for the 5 billion barrels plus something extra
Petrobras will receive," he said. "This volume is so big that it
will require a high level of investment to monetize."
The partner could be either another oil company or a
financial investor, he added.
After the secretary's comments, Petrobras preferred shares,
the company's most-traded class of stock reversed early losses
to rise 2.1 percent in afternoon trading in Sao Paulo.
The transfer of rights areas, known by that name because
they were sold to Petrobras without an auction, are located in
the Santos Offshore basin about 175 kilometers (109 miles) south
of Rio de Janeiro.
While Petrobras bought rights to 5 billion barrels in the
areas, exploration since the purchase show that there are
another 6 billion or 7 billion barrels in the region.
Before Petrobras ran into financial and corruption
difficulties, it was assumed that it would buy the extra oil
With Petrobras working to cut spending and its nearly $125
billion of debt, the largest in the world oil industry, the
government is studying how it might be able to sell those
rights. Previously, Felix has said Brazil may sell the oil to
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier, writing by Jeb Blount;
Editing by Daniel Flynn and David Gregorio)