Brazil’s Petrobras forges partnership with Norway’s Statoil

August 31, 2016 | Mergers, Acquisitions & JVs, North Sea & Western Europe, South America

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil |  — Brazil’s state-controlled Petrobras and Norway’s Statoil agreed to a partnership that includes joint upstream bidding, the revival of mature offshore fields and natural gas projects.

The new non-binding memorandum of understanding follows Statoil’s agreement to pay around $2.5billion for Petrobras’ 66pc operating stake in the BM-S-8 exploration block in the prolific Santos basin. The companies had first announced plans for a partnership at the same time.

Brazil is expected to launch a sub-salt licensing round in 2017 covering interconnected reservoirs in BM-S-8 and three other Santos basin blocks.

The new cooperation agreement, covering an initial two-year period, would improve gas infrastructure and monetization in Brazil through “possible joint investments in transportation and processing and the possible attraction of new partners,” Petrobras said.

Brazil has launched a new program, Gas for Growth, aimed at attracting private-sector companies to the gas sector in anticipation of Petrobras reducing its dominant role.

Petrobras and Statoil are already partnered in 13 upstream projects, 10 in Brazil and three abroad.

Statoil currently produces around 77,280 b/d of heavy crude from the Peregrino field in the Campos basin, where it holds a 60pc operating stake. The company is now working on a new development phase that would add an additional 60,000 b/d.

Petrobras chief executive Pedro Parent says the company is interested in amplifying partnerships with other upstream partners, such as Shell.

Speaking at a conference yesterday in Norway, Parente said divestments will be expanded in the coming years as Petrobras looks to halve its almost $130bn debt load by 2020. The company should release its new five-year plan, covering 2016-2020, by the end of September.