Petrobras seeks US reserves through swap transactions

Petroleo Brasileiro SA is in advanced negotiations with US companies that operate in the Gulf of Mexico to swap oil reserves in Brazil for equivalent gulf reserves, Carlos Alberto Pereira de Oliveira, the company's exploration and production superintendent, told OGJ Online. The swap operation began 2 months ago, when Petrobras sent invitation letters to 15 companies that own fields in the Gulf of Mexico.


RIO DE JANEIRO�Petroleo Brasileiro SA is in advanced negotiations with US companies that operate in the US Gulf of Mexico to swap oil reserves in Brazil for equivalent gulf reserves, Carlos Alberto Pereira de Oliveira, the company's exploration and production superintendent, told OGJ Online.

"It is necessary to increase Petrobras's reserves in countries such as the United States. It is also fundamental for Petrobras to obtain financing abroad with lower interest rates," said Oliveira.

He explained that the swap operation began 2 months ago, when Petrobras sent invitation letters to 15 companies that own fields in the Gulf of Mexico. Braspetro, Petrobras's international arm, produces 18,000 b/d on 60 blocks in the gulf and wants to increase its presence there.

Petrobras is offering to exchange 40% of the reserves from the giant Albacora Leste field in the Campos basin for equivalent reserves in the Gulf of Mexico. Other Brazilian reserves are also included in the negotiations, but Oliveira declined to name them. The superintendent said he expects the results of the negotiations to be released in mid-August.

Albacora Leste field has estimated oil and gas reserves of 0.7-1.0 billion boe. The investments required to put this field on stream total about $2 billion, said the superintendent.

Fifteen percent of Albacora Leste reserves are part of negotiations in progress with Repsol-YPF SA. The value of the assets is around $1.3 billion. These negotiations also involve the refining and distribution of oil products in Spain and Brazil.

Braspetro's strategy focuses on three regions: South America, West Africa, and the Gulf of Mexico. In South America, the company operates in several countries, but mainly Colombia and Bolivia, where it owns refineries and from where it imports natural gas. The gas will be used in Brazil's priority program to build gas-fired thermoelectric plants.

In Angola Braspetro produces 19,000 boe/d, and in Nigeria it has a 20% stake in the Agbami field.

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