Petrobras agrees on rules for Sepia, Atapu offshore fields sale

Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras has approved an agreement with the government for compensation that must be paid to the company in the event of an auction of reserves in two offshore oil areas.

Petrobras headquarters; Source: Petrobras

Petrobras said last Friday in a market notice that the firm would receive $3.253 billion if reserves from the Atapu field are auctioned off.

The company would also receive $3.2 billion if reserves from Sepia are sold off. The payments would be made over roughly a decade.

Petrobras added that, as it has already done exploration and development work in those regions, the company was eligible for compensation in case of a sale.

This is not the first time the Brazilian government attempted to auction off reserves in the Atapu and Sepia offshore oil blocks.

Source: Petrobras
Source: Petrobras

The first sale attempt was made in early November 2019. At the time, oil companies were bidding for ownership in the Buzios, Sepia, Atapu, and Itapu oil fields.

At the time, Petrobras exercised its pre-emptive rights to act as the operator of the Buzios and Itapu areas with a minimum of 30 per cent stake ownership in any winning consortium.

Brazil’s petroleum regulator ANP hoped to bring in around $26.2 billion at ‘a minimum’ if bids for all four areas on offer are received.

But what was described as a ‘mega-bidding roundended in disaster. After the bidding round, Petrobras ended up as the operator with a 90 per cent stake in the consortium with CNODC Brasil Petróleo e Gás and CNOOC Petroleum Brasil, which acquired the exploration and production rights of the surplus volume of the Búzios field.

Also, Petrobras acquired 100 per cent of the exploration and production rights of Itapu field surplus volume. Atapu and Sepia oil fields received no bids.

Brazil ended up with only $17.1 billion instead of the desired $26 billion from upfront signing fees. However, most of it was paid by state-owned Petrobras.