Petrobras wants to dispose of its gas distribution business and its chain of gas stations in Uruguay. “The scale we have in Uruguay does not interest us,” Roberto Castello Branco, president of Petrobras, told Estadao / Broadcast, Grupo Estado’s real-time news system. A leader in Brazil in fuel distribution, with BR Distribuidora, the oil company will put up for sale the network with 70 gas stations in that country, and will negotiate with the Uruguayan government to return the gas distribution concession.
According to Castello Branco, the state-owned company purchases natural gas from Argentina at market price and in Uruguay at a fixed price. The state-owned company operates distributors MontevideoGas and Conecta. “These deals hurt.”
This decision is part of the program of sale of non-strategic assets, which is underway by Petrobras. The state-owned company said yesterday it also plans to sell eight refineries in Brazil, including Abreu and Lima. They are 13 units in total, with production of 2.2 million barrels per day. “The intention is to sell half of our production capacity,” said Castello Branco. The state-owned company plans to raise $15 billion from the sale of these refineries.
If the strategy is carried out, Petrobras will no longer have a refining monopoly in Brazil. “It is an anomaly for a single company to have 98% of the production capacity of certain products, whatever the circumstance,” said Castello Branco.
Companies specializing in refining and tradings are among the potential stakeholders in the business. Castello Branco said Petrobras wouldn’t sell the refineries to a single buyer to avoid regional monopolies. The goal is to sell 100% of each refining unit.
This week, the oil company announced the sale of $10.3 billion in assets from a total plan of $27 billion. On Thursday, it announced to the market the sale of the TAG pipeline to Engie, for $8.6 billion, of the Tartaruga Verde field platform (bought by Petronas, of Malaysia, for $1.3 billion) and of the pole of Riacho da Forquilha, completed by Bahia PetroRecôncavo, for US $384 million.
Liquigás (gas cylinder), the share of Petrobras at Braskem, is on the state’s list of divestments. In addition to the reduction of the share in BR Distribuidora – today at 71%. The company intends to make a new offer of shares of the company in the Stock Exchange.
The state-owned company is also reviewing its strategy in the piped gas distribution in the country. Professor Luciano Castro was hired to reassess the state’s role in the segment. “This is a sector that will undergo regulatory changes to stimulate competition and investment,” said the executive.