Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., aka Petrobras (NYSE:PBR), announced Wednesday the sale of the totality of its Peruvian branch to China National Petroleum Corporation for a final price of $2.6 billion. The sale is currently pending the approval of both Peruvian and Chinese governments.
Among the assets that will change hands are the rights to explore and drill Lote X, a site in the northeast of Peru that last year produced an average of 16,000 daily barrels, reported Peruvian newspaper El Comercio. CNPC will also get 46.16 percent of the rights to Lote 57, a natural gas site in the Andean region of the country that is still in the developing stage, and all of Lote 58, adjacent to 57, where natural gas reserves have been discovered recently.
Petrobras’ Peruvian branch exploited sites with reserves of 1,977 billion cubic feet in natural gas, and 113 million oil barrels, according to estimations from the company.
Petrobras released a statement saying the transaction is part of the disinvestment plan in projects in Brazil and abroad that it announced in 2012, worth $9.9 billion. As part of the plan, Petrobras sold concessions in the Gulf of Mexico in April, and gave concessions to the Norwegian oil company Statoil (OSE:STL) to exploit an offshore site in Tanzania. The next step will be to sell part of its assets in Argentina.
The project of disinvestment comes following one of the roughest years for Petrobras. Just in the last quarter, its earnings fell 39 percent compared to the same period in 2012. Reuters reported that the company expected a net income of 5.84 billion reais ($2.5 billion), but ended up earning 3.4 billion reais ($1.6 billion).
The agreement with CNPC was announced two days after a visit by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to her Peruvian counterpart Ollanta Humala. The two leaders discussed an increase in bilateral projects, including a highway connecting their nations.