Petrobras, Brazil’s government controlled oil and gas multinational, is in talks to buy a stake in Portugal’s Galp Energia, Brazil’s Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobão told reporters Wednesday in Brazilian capital Brasília.
“It is a possibility,” Lobão said, adding that no decision has been made. “They want to sell a stake”.
Galp, Portugal’s biggest oil company, would benefit from Petrobras’s financial strength and technological expertise at deepwater oil fields, said an energy analyst. Petrobras owns a majority stake in the Tupi field offshore Brazil. BG Group Plc and Galp Energia own minority stakes.
Galp is partners with Petrobras at 54 exploration blocks in Brazil, including Tupi, the largest discovery in the Americas since 1976. Tupi may hold as much as 8 billion barrels of oil.
“We don’t comment on shareholder issues,” said Galp spokesperson Pedro Marques Pereira.
Pereira said on January 7 the company didn’t have plans to sell shares of its Brazilian unit in the local stock market. His comments followed a report that day by Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico that Galp is among international companies that may sell shares domestically.
Apparently Petrobras could take over the package currently held by Italy’s ENI, with the purpose of selling diesel oil in Europe in a near future through Galp.
Lobão said it’s “the Portuguese who are interested in selling shares to Petrobras”.
In related news ExxonMobil and Petrobras have signed an agreement with the Turkish National Oil Co (TPAO) to explore for hydrocarbons in the deepwater Black Sea offshore Turkey.
Under the terms of the accord, ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Turkey will acquire a 25% interest in the Sinop, Ayancik, and Çaramba sub-blocks of the AR/TPO/3922 exploration license. Petrobras retains a 25% equity interest and will continue as the operator, with TPAO holding the remaining 50%.
“We look forward to using the technologies and expertise of all three companies as we explore for potential commercial resources in the Black Sea,” said Mehmet Uysal, CEO of TPAO.
“We are pleased to add this prospective acreage to our global portfolio and expand our presence in the deepwater Black Sea,” added Russ Bellis, Exploration director, ExxonMobil International.
This agreement covers around 7.4 million acres and is subject to approval by the Turkish government. It follows an earlier accord signed by ExxonMobil and TPAO in November 2008 to jointly explore Black Sea deepwater prospects in the Samsun block.