Petrobras CEO Roberto Castello Branco stated the explanation most main oil firms didn’t present up for Brazil’s huge public sale was due to the astronomic price ticket and regulatory uncertainties.

“The quantity that firms would want to commit upfront, with license charges and compensation to Petrobras, was too excessive,” Castello Branco stated in an interview Wednesday on the Petroleo Brasileiro SA headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. “We haven’t given up on our companions; they’ve given up on us.”

Fourteen firms had signed as much as bid Wednesday, for an space that’s estimated to carry as a lot as 20 billion barrels of oil. It was the priciest public sale of reserves for the reason that finish of the second Gulf War. But ultimately, it was largely Petrobras doing the bidding: the state-run firm received the biggest block by providing the minimal with two Chinese companions and it received one other block for which it was the only real bidder. Two extra blocks didn’t entice any bids.


A smaller public sale on Thursday noticed Petrobras and its Chinese companion scoop up a block on the minimal supply whereas 4 others acquired no bids.

The auctions had been meant to be a part of Brazil’s shift away from nationalistic oil insurance policies and assist it shake off a number of the hardest years within the nation’s historical past, with an injection of international money to assist develop reserves. The authorities had estimated the public sale would increase about $25 billion in charges and one other $25 billion in compensation for Petrobras, which has already invested in drilling and platforms. The complete for licensing was $17 billion, and Petrobras is predicted to obtain only a fraction of what it anticipated initially.

The outcomes hit Brazil’s forex and the share value for Petrobras, which fell greater than 5% earlier than ending the day little modified. An analyst referred to as the public sale a “complete catastrophe” for the federal government. Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque, who declared the public sale a hit, informed reporters Wednesday that “we might want to consider why oil majors didn’t take part.”

As the day of the public sale neared, BP Plc and Total SA stated they wouldn’t bid. Exxon Mobil Corp., which has constructed the biggest offshore exploration portfolio in Brazil after Petrobras, expressed concern in regards to the excessive prices.

Seeing the oil majors which have lengthy partnered with the corporate dropping out or wavering, Castello Branco stated he referred to as Chief Financial Officer Andrea Marques de Almeida into his workplace because the day of the public sale approached.

“If we wish to go it alone — can we?” he requested. The reply: “We can.”

Castello Branco stated Petrobras can develop the enormous Buzios deepwater discipline it received by itself with out compromising monetary self-discipline. The firm has funds to pay for all of the charges and nonetheless cut back debt this yr. Petrobras ended the third quarter with a powerful money place, and it additionally has 34.1 billion reais ($eight.three billion) of credit score with the federal government it may use to pay for the charges, Castello Branco stated.

The firm was aiming for no less than 30% of the sector, not the 90% it ended up with, he stated. Chinese companions solely took a 10% stake.


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