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Another Discovery for Financially Moribund Petrobras

Bottom Line: A new discovery for Petrobras offshore in the northeast of Brazil is good news in theory, but bad news in terms of investment for development that the state-run giant doesn’t have.

Analysis: Petrobras has made another oil discovery off the northeast coast of Brazil, on the SEAL-11 offshore exploration block, with unconfirmed reports estimating more than 1 billion barrels of oil, and the state-run oil giant saying the new find would be producing 100,000 barrels a day as of 2018. Petrobras is the operator of the block, with a 60% share, while India’s Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) holds a 40% stake in a JV with Videocon Industries Ltd. Exploration in the block began in 2008. In India, shares in Bharat and Videocon both jumped on the news.

And there is more good news for cash-strapped Petrobras this week, as the Brazilian government considers ways to help the state-run giant finance the massive investment it will need to make after the auction later this month for the giant offshore Libra field. While Petrobras has the technical capacity to develop Libra, it lacks the financial resources. Eleven companies have signed up for to participate in the Libra auction, and once a winner is announced, Petrobras will have to come up with a minimum 30% of the nearly $6.7 billion up-front fee the winning bidders have to pay to the government of Brazil. Petrobras will hold a minimum 30% stake in any Libra deal, and will serve as the operator.  On top…

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