Petrobras Undecided on Outright Sale of Refining Assets

Reuters, February 7, 2017

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (aka Petrobras) remains undecided about the sale of some refineries, a sign Brazil's state-controlled oil company might be leaning toward forming partnerships by offering stakes in some of them, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Thursday. The person said Boston Consulting Group Inc. had been analyzing potential scenarios for the company's refining operations over the past couple of years, and recently suggested several alternatives for the unit.

One of the options is breaking down Petrobras' refining network into geographic regions and then deciding which should go up for sale, the source said. A more palatable option, the source added, would be offering stakes in specific refineries to peers like Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras said extending partnerships in exploration and production to other business segments remained a key strategy whose main aspects are under consideration. Boston Consulting Group did not have an immediate comment.

The source requested anonymity because discussions on the matter are continuing.

The situation reflects changing fortunes at Petrobras since Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente's appointment last May. This week, Parente told investors at a Credit Suisse conference that Petrobras wanted to remain a vertically integrated oil company and had ruled out an outright sale of all refining assets.

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