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Glencore, Aramco, CNPC Among Bidders For Petrobras Refineries

The world’s top commodity traders along with several oil majors are among the bidders for eight refineries that the Brazilian government wants to privatize, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources.

Glencore, Trafigura, and Vitol are all among the bidders, and so are Chinese CNPC and Sinopec, as well as Saudi Aramco, which has been working on building its downstream footprint internationally.

The eight refineries have a combined capacity of 1.1 million bpd and the first bidding round, to take place in October, will be for four of them. All eight sales could generate as much as US$18 billion, according to bankers involved in the privatization.

However, they will likely all be sold to different buyers as ordered by competition regulator CADE. The watchdog made Petrobras change its divestment process so that one company could not buy the two largest refineries in a single region of the country.

The deal is part of a privatization drive launched by the new right-wing government of Brazil, which also involves a partial or full privatization of Petrobras itself. In January, the secretary of privatization, Salim Mattar, said that Petrobras should sell most of its 36 subsidiaries as part of the government’s plan to generate US$20 billion from state companies’ asset sales this year.

There was talk about a full privatization of the oil giant soon after Bolsonaro came into power, but the president himself denied there were such plans. Interestingly, he appointed one of the proponents of a full privatization for Petrobras as chief executive of the company.

Since he took the helm, Roberto Castello Branco has ruled out a full privatization but he has started a divestment program that should slim down Petrobras’ business and its debt pile. Now, it’s other government officials talking about a full privatization, and one that should take place by 2022, when Bolsonaro’s term in office ends.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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