Brazil’s Petrobras opens sale process for legacy Marlim oil cluster

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Brazil’s state-run Petrobras oil company is seen at their headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes/File Photo/File Photo/File Photo

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA PETR4.SA put up for sale a 50% stake in its legacy deep-water Marlim oil cluster, the company said on Monday in a filing.

In production since the 1980’s in the Atlantic Ocean’s Campos basin, the giant Marlim cluster has four fields – Marlim, Voador, Marlim Leste and Marlim Sul – producing 217,000 barrels of oil per day, or almost 10% of the company’s total output.

The sale, in its initial stage, is part of Petrobras’ plans to sell non-core assets to cut debt and focus investments in the world’s biggest deep-water discoveries this century, in the so-called pre-salt area.

The newer pre-salt reserves, found beneath a thick layer of salt at the seabed of Brazil’s waters, had a fast ramp-up in the past decade and are responsible for more than 70% of Petrobras’ production.

Once Brazil’s largest oil field with more than 500,000 barrels per day, Marlim has seen declining production in the past decade. Today, Marlim Sul and Marlim are, respectively, Brazil’s sixth and eighth largest oil fields in Brazil. Marlim Sul has the largest number of producing wells in Brazil, 67.

The four fields, which also produce 3.6 million cubic meters of natural gas, are located between 90 and 150 kilometers off the coast and up to 2,500 meters below the ocean floor.

Petrobras shares rose more than 4% in Sao Paulo following the announcement.

Reporting by Sabrina Valle, editing by Louise Heavens and Steve Orlofsky

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