Petrobras Funding: Exciting, Uncertain Times

The government’s plans for development of the pre-salt fields in Brazil put Petrobras firmly centre stage. Presidential elections loom and detail is lacking, but oil experts are excited.

Funding for the next stage of Petrobras’ $174 billion budget through 2013 is becoming clear. The government plans to sell up to five billion barrels of oil reserves in return for additional shares in the company, the Brazilian oil producer’s CFO Almir Barbassa tells LatinFinance. In a separately structured but related deal, minority shareholders will be invited to subscribe to new equity, he notes.

The transactions depend on congress approving a law to allow the government to sell oil, says Ted Helms, director of investor relations at Petrobras. The chamber of deputies planned to vote November 10, after which it will go to the senate. If approved by the latter, the text will be sent back to the lower house for reconciliation. At the earliest, the law could be approved in March or April with the aim to complete the deals some 60-90 days later, in the second quarter of 2010. “If we go beyond much beyond that then we bump into politics,” says Helms, referring to the first round of presidential elections slated for October.

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