By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Accounting Court (TCU) in Brazil authorized on Wednesday the country’s oil giant, Petrobras, to resume the sale of some of its assets. The company hopes, along partnership accords, its divestment program will bring US$21 billion in revenues by 2018.
“Such decision is crucial for the company to move forward with its Divestment Plan, which is considered one of the main pillars to achieve the goal of reducing leverage,” stated the company in a press release on Wednesday after the decision.
According to Petrobras the decision will allows the company to conclude the sale of interest in the Baúna and Tartaruga Verde fields and sale of interest in Saint Malo field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Three other sales are also on their final negotiations stages according to officials.
In September of 2016 the petroleum giant announced a significant reduction of its investment and an aggressive divestment plan until 2021.
Since 2016 Petrobras has announced asset sales negotiations including Japan’s Mitsui for Gaspetro, the sale of its Chilean subsidiary, PCD, to private equity firm Southern Cross Group, and the sale of ninety percent of Nova Transportadora do Sudeste (NTS) pipeline to a consortium led by Brookfield. It has also expanded its partnership with France’s Total Oil and Gas.
The company, once considered the most profitable in Brazil, has faced a difficult time in the past two years. Due to the decline in oil prices around the world, the depreciation of the Brazilian currency and payment of interest rates Petrobras registered in 2015 a net loss of R$34.8 billion, the largest in the company’s history.
In addition to the economic crisis, the company is one of the main players in the Lava Jato (Carwash) scandal. According to federal prosecutors working in the investigation, more than R$6.4 billion were given to former Petrobras directors by some of the largest construction companies in the country for contract benefits.