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Petrobras cancels sale of stake in Brazil offshore oilfields

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RIO DE JANEIRO: Tue Mar 1, 2016 

Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) has cancelled an agreement to sell to a local oil firm its 20 percent stake in two offshore oil fields it operates with Shell, the state-led oil company said in a securities filing on Monday.

Petrobras gave no reason for the cancellation of the sale of the stake in the Bijupirá and Salema fields in the Campos basin to PetroRio PRIO3.SA.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L), which owns 80 percent of the two fields, announced two weeks ago it was cancelling a planned sale of its share to PetroRio, then known as HRT, and gave no explanation for the move.

Shell also cancelled the sale to PetroRio of the FPSO Fluminense, the tanker used as a floating drill, storage and offloading platform.

Petrobras, the most indebted oil company in the world, has embarked on a divestment programme that aims to sell $14 billion in assets this year.

Shell, Europe’s largest oil company which gained approval last month to take over BG Group BG.L, had agreed in January 2015 to sell its stake in the fields in a deal estimated to be worth $150 million. The period for conclusion of the transaction ended this month and Shell opted not to renew negotiations.

The Bijupirá and Salema fields 150 miles (250 km) east of Rio de Janeiro were the first offshore fields to be operated by a foreign company.

The fields are in decline and need investment to pump up output. They produce nearly 31,000 barrels of crude oil per day, nearly half the planed production when the field started in 2003, and about 474,000 cubic meters of natural gas, Brazil’s oil regulator ANP said in early February.

(Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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