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Petronas Buys $850 Million Stake in OGX Oil Field in Brazil

Petronas Agrees to Buy $850 Million Stake in OGX Oil Field
Vehicles move past a Petroliam Nasional Bhd. (Petronas) gas station as the Petronas Twin Towers, background third left, stand at night in Kuala Lumpur. Photographer: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg

Petroliam Nasional Bhd. will pay $850 million for a share in a field owned by OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, the Brazilian oil producer whose output dropped 86 percent in three months.

Malaysia’s state-owned producer known as Petronas agreed to buy a 40 percent stake in two blocks in the offshore Tubarao Martelo field located in the Campos Basin, according to an e-mailed statement from Petronas.

Billionaire Eike Batista, OGX’s founder and controlling stakeholder, is selling assets and reshuffling management in his commodities and logistics companies to bolster investor confidence amid concern over missed financial and production targets.

“Petronas views the acquisition as a highly attractive opportunity in terms of asset quality and for strategic future growth in Brazil,” the Malaysian company said in the statement.

The acquisition marks Petronas’ first entry into exploration and production in Brazil and followed a C$5.2 billion deal last year to take over Canadian producer Progress Energy Resources Corp.

The purchase highlights Asian interest in Brazilian oil assets. China National Petroleum Corp., China’s largest oil producer, is in talks to acquire Barra Energia Petroleo e Gas, a Brazilian oil startup, for about $2 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Stake Option

“Asian energy companies are scrambling for assets overseas,” Praveen Kumar, a Singapore-based senior consultant at FACTS Global Energy, said today by phone. “The plan, following the Chinese model, is to bring that oil back to the host country, or sell it and monetize it that way.”

OGX slid 9.7 percent to 1.76 reais at the close of trading in Sao Paulo, erasing an earlier advance of as much as 9.7 percent. The Rio de Janeiro-based company started to pump oil last year and reached its highest offshore production in January with 13,200 barrels a day.

Under the agreement, Petronas has the option to acquire a 5 percent stake in OGX from Batista at a price of 6.30 reais per share. This option can be exercised at any moment until April of 2015 and no new shares would be issued, OGX said in a separate statement today.

Petronas’s interest in acquiring a stake in OGX shows “the quality of our team of executives and our growth opportunities,” CEO Luiz Carneiro said, according to the statement.

OGX plans to start output at the Tubarao Martelo field, whose name means hammerhead shark, in the fourth quarter, it said in a March 27 presentation. The Rio de Janeiro-based company has already drilled six wells at the field and is waiting for OSX Brasil SA, Batista’s shipbuilding unit, to deliver a production vessel to begin pumping the crude.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is adviser to Petronas on the acquisition.

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