Petrobras, Brazil’s government-controlled oil and gas multinational, will issue as much as US$ 60 billion of new stock, most of which will go to the government in exchange for oil rights, Brazilian minister of Energy Edison Lobão announced March 16.
“Petrobras has no funding problems,” Lobão told reporters in São Paulo. He said the company will issue between US$ 40 billion and US$ 60 billion of new stock. “The share sale will help us to diversify our funding sources”.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sought to boost state control over Petrobras and deepwater oil deposits after the company discovered the Americas’ largest oil find in more than three decades. Under legislation proposed by Lula, Brazil’s government is seeking to swap 5 billion barrels of oil in the pre-salt region for Petrobras shares.
Petrobras is spending 174.4 billion USD in the next five years as it prepares to tap the offshore fields. The company’s Tupi field, the biggest discovery since Mexico’s Cantarell since 1976, may hold as much as 8 billion barrels of oil, Petrobras has said.
Lobão stated the Senate will likely approve the oil-rights transfer within two months, allowing Petrobras to sell shares by the end of June.
Lobão’s estimate tops previous forecasts. Luciano Coutinho president of Brazil’s state development bank, known as BNDES, said March 3 that Petrobras may raise US$ 35 to US$ 40 billion.
Credit Suisse, in a February 10 note to clients, forecast the share sale to reach as much as US$ 50 billion. About US$ 30 billion of the stock would go to the government in exchange for the oil with the rest offered to minority shareholders, according to Credit Suisse.
In related news, Petrobras said on Tuesday it found light oil in a well off the coast of Sergipe state, part of an ongoing strategy to search for more crude in its existing production blocks.
The company said in a regulatory filing it found oil in the 3-PRM-12-SES exploratory well in the northern edge of the Piranema block, 28 kilometers off the coast of Sergipe. Petrobras estimates the well has 15 million barrels of recoverable oil, the equivalent of about one week of its domestic crude output.
The Brazilian National Petroleum Agency said that the discovery was made at a depth of 813 meters and that the well produced API 44 degree crude. The company plans to drill a second well and do further evaluations of the new oil accumulation. The Piranema field was declared a commercial find in August 2004.