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Foreign-backed consortium in talks for Petrobras gas fields in Brazil, sources say

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - A consortium of Brazil’s 3R Petroleum and Norway-linked DBO Energy is in bilateral talks with Brazil’s Petrobras to purchase a cluster of offshore natural gas fields, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Peroa cluster, located off the coast of Espirito Santo state, would be among the first all-gas offshore fields sold by Petrobras amid a larger push to break the company’s near-monopoly in Brazil’s natural gas value chain.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the state-controlled firm is formally known, has long dominated most segments of the Brazilian natural gas sector. But in recent years, it has begun selling off pipelines and assets in transport and distribution, in a move the company and the government hope will spur competition.

Several international firms already produce significant amounts of natural gas in Brazil, as they operate oilfields where so-called associated gas is removed during the production process. Much of that gas is simply reinjected into the ground, however, and few are producing at standalone gas fields.

Petrobras and 3R did not respond to a request for comment. DBO declined to comment.

In 2019, the Peroa cluster produced just short of 1 million cubic meters of gas per day, though it produced several times that amount in recent years. The cluster also includes the Malombe prospect, discovered in 2011, which studies indicate could produce up to 2.5 million cubic meters daily if developed.

Due in part to Peroa’s mature profile, it is expected to be sold for a relatively low price compared with other production assets being offered by Petrobras in the area, said the sources, who requested anonymity due to the confidentiality of the matter.

Rio de Janeiro-based DBO is composed of Brazilian and Norwegian executives, and it lists RWE Supply & Trading, an arm of Germany’s RWE AG, as an investor.

3R, founded in part by former Petrobras executives, is backed by investment firm Starboard Restructuring Partners. In early September, it filed for an initial public offering to help pay for acquisitions it has made from Petrobras and to pursue new ones. pet

Reporting by Gram Slattery in Rio de Janeiro and Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo; editing by Richard Pullin

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