(New throughout, adds details on agreement, comments from
RIO DE JANEIRO Dec 21 Petroleo Brasileiro SA
said on Wednesday it will sell $2.2 billion worth of
assets to France's Total SA, including stakes in oilfields and
two thermal power stations.
Petrobras, as the state-run company is known, will receive
$1.6 billion in cash in 60 days, when the agreement closes,
Chief Financial Officer Ivan Monteiro said in a press briefing.
The rest will be received over time.
With the agreement, the total divestment for the last two
years ending in 2016 reached $13 billion, Monteiro said, still
$2 billion short of the target the company set to reduce its
$125 billion debt, the largest in the world's oil industry.
Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente said the remaining $2
billion may have to be added to the company's 2017 asset sale
Under the agreement Total will acquire stakes in two
oilfields in Brazil's so-called Subsalt Polygon, which covers
most of the giant discoveries in undersea reservoirs trapped
deep beneath the seabed by a layer of salt.
The French company will get a 22.5 percent stake in prospect
area Iara, currently under development in the Santos Basin.
Petrobras will keep a 42.5 percent interest in the field and
continue to be the operator.
Total will buy 35 percent and operate the Lapa field, also
in the Santos Basin, which began producing this week. Petrobras
will keep a 10 percent stake.
The French company will also acquire 50 percent of two
thermal power stations in Bahia state.
Parente said the two companies want a partnership beyond the
mere transfer of assets.
"This is a strategic partnership, and our goal is to reduce
our exploration risk and improve the operation in the fields we
own together," said Parente, who was next to Total CEO Patrick
Pouyanne during the briefing.
Petrobras and Total are already partners in 19 oil fields
Petrobras will have the option of acquiring up to 20 percent
of oilfield Perdido Foldbelt, in Gulf of Mexico, currently owned
by Total and Exxon Mobil Corp..
Parente said the agreement with Total was authorized by
Brazil's audit court, which suspended the oil company's
divestment program earlier this month.
(Reporting by Martha Nogueira; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer and
Alonso Soto; Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)