Petrobras-Mubadala Partnership May Open Door to Refinery Deal

Reuters, September 4, 2023

Brazilian state-run oil firm Petrobras (PETR4.SA) remains eager to repurchase a refinery from Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala despite antitrust barriers, and a new biofuels partnership could open the door to future talks, two sources told Reuters.

Petrobras on Monday announced a memorandum of understanding with Mubadala for potential investment in a biofuel refinery under development in Bahia state by Mubadala-owned Acelen.

That project will use infrastructure from Acelen's Mataripe refinery, formerly known as Rlam, which Petrobras management has been looking to repurchase this year after selling it to Mubadala in 2021 under a previous government, the sources said.

"This agreement has nothing to do with Rlam, but it could be a way forward, as would anything that brings us closer together," said one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential deliberations.

The source added that any attempt to repurchase the Mataripe refinery will hinge on talks with antitrust regulator Cade, with whom Petrobras agreed to sell its refineries outside the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

In June, Cade President Alexandre Cordeiro told journalists he had begun reviewing clauses in that refineries agreement and would take into account changes in the oil company's management and market conditions.

Petrobras and Acelen did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mubadala declined to comment.

(Reporting by Marta Nogueira and Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Brad Haynes and Nick Zieminski)

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