Shell to Sell Brazil Offshore Fields to HRT in Oil Rout

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the second-largest oil operator in Brazil, is selling a stake in one of its crude-producing projects in the country to HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA, according to a regulatory filing.

HRT, based in Rio de Janeiro, agreed to buy Shell’s 80 percent stake in the Bijupira and Salema fields, an offshore venture that started production in 2003, according to a Brazil filing Tuesday. HRT will boost output to more than 30,000 barrels a day, and also is buying the FPSO Fluminese ship. The acquisition will be financed by HRT’s first bond sale and a loan led by a Glencore Plc unit. HRT didn’t provide a purchase price.

Oil companies are retreating from high-cost projects and selling assets across the globe as crude’s seven-month slump of more than 50 percent erodes profit. This month, producers including Statoil ASA, Tullow Oil Plc and Premier Oil Plc have delayed projects or cut exploration spending. For Shell, declining output in Brazil as reservoirs fade has increased the cost of extracting the remaining crude.

The deal is the second Brazilian asset sale in a year for the Hague-based company after agreeing to sell 23 percent of the Parque das Conchas project to Qatar Petroleum International Ltd. for about $1 billion. Shell completed $11.6 billion in divestments in the first nine months of 2014 as it seeks to rein in costs, the company said Oct. 30.

Stock Plunge

Shell is the biggest operator in Brazil after state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA and has spent more than $7 billion on exploration and production there since 1998, according to the company’s website. It extracted 76,800 barrels a day in November from Parque das Conchas and Bijupira and Salema, data from Brazil’s oil regulator shows.

Petrobras, as Brazil’s largest oil company is known, holds the remaining 20 percent of Bijupira and Salema. Shell operates Parque das Conchas with a 50 percent stake and has Oil & Natural Gas Corp., India’s biggest energy explorer, as partner together with Qatar Petroleum.

HRT, the oil startup listed in 2010, last year became operational after agreeing to buy a 60 percent stake in the offshore Polvo field in Brazil’s Campos basin from BP Plc. The company is Brazil’s seventh-largest operator with 7,219 barrels daily output in November, according to ANP.

Shares of HRT jumped 14 percent to close at 3.26 reais in Sao Paulo, reducing the stock’s 12-month decline to 74 percent. Shell fell 0.2 percent to 2,117 pence in London. West Texas Intermediate oil slid 4.7 percent to $46.39 a barrel, about half the price of a year ago.

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