Petrobras agrees $1.5 billion divestment of African oil and gas business

A consortium lead by oil trader Vitol Group will buy a 50% stake in an African oil and natural gas exploration business from Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) for US$1.5 billion.

Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras is following a $21 billion asset divestment programme that seeks to reduce its enormous debt burden, the largest of any publicly traded oil company.

The firm will receive an upfront payment of $1.41 billion from Vitol, the world’s biggest independent oil trader, followed by an additional $123 million to be paid when the Agbami field in Nigeria is reassigned to the new owners.

The sale will reduce Petrobras’s international production by 21,000 barrels a day and marks a continuation of the company’s plan to shed assets outside Brazil and focus on the pre-salt region in the country’s deep waters.

Vitol’s partners in the transaction are Africa Oil Corp and Delonex Energy, meanwhile BTG Pactual E&P B.V will maintain its 50% stake in the enterprise.

“Vitol has a long history of investing in Nigeria’s energy sector. We are pleased and proud to add this significant upstream asset to our infrastructure and downstream Nigerian investments,” said chief executive officer Russell Hardy.