By an OGJ correspondent
RIO DE JANEIRO, June 17 -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) is considering acquiring Petrolera Santa Fe, the Argentine subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp., said Joao Nogueira Batista, Petrobras's financial director.
"The possible purchase of (Petrolera) Santa Fe is part of our company's strategic plan that calls for boosting Petrobras's international presence, particularly in Latin America," Batista said. Negotiations are quite advanced, he added, with Petrobras having completed a due diligence study of the Santa Fe unit and finding nothing unexpected.
The Santa Fe unit has proved reserves of 50 million bbl and produces 10,000 b/d of crude oil, according to Devon Energy executives. Oil analysts say that the Santa Fe unit is worth no more than $200 million.
Petrolera Santa Fe's oil production could supply the Bahia Blanca refinery in Argentina acquired by Petrobras through a $1 billion asset swap with Repsol-YPF SA (OGJ, Aug. 7, 2000, p. 24).
However, before making a decision about the purchase, Petrobras is first analyzing Argentina's economic crisis—including the devaluation of the Argentine peso and the recent 20% tax on oil exports—to evaluate Argentina's long-term prospects, said a Petrobras official.