Vitol, Glencore, and Shell—the three biggest oil traders in the world—are in the running to buy the Nigerian oil assets of Brazil’s state oil firm Petrobras, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting banking and industry sources in the know.
As part of its asset sale program aimed at raising billions of U.S. dollars and reducing its huge debts, Petrobras launched in November last year a sales process for its Nigerian assets, putting on the block its 50 percent interest in Petrobras Oil & Gas B.V. (POGBV)—a joint venture in which BTG Pactual E&P BV holds 40 percent, and Helios Investment Partners the remaining 10 percent.
The joint venture that Petrobras looks to exit holds stakes in two deepwater blocks offshore Nigeria that contain the Akpo and Egina fields operated by France’s Total and the Agbami field operated by U.S. supermajor Chevron.
In March this year Petrobras moved on to the binding stage of the sales process. By early May three consortia had bid for the assets, each consisting of one of the world’s top oil traders Vitol, Glencore, and Shell, according to Reuters’ sources.
Vitol teamed up with Delonex, the oil upstream subsidiary of U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus and with Canada-listed Africa Energy Corp, part of Lundin Group.
Glencore is bidding for Petrobras’s Nigerian assets together with local listed company Seplat and France’s Maurel & Prom, which is backed by Indonesia’s state oil company Pertamina.
Shell is running with Nigerian privately-owned company Famfa Oil.
Petrobras has been expected to decide by the end of this month to which of the bidders it should sell its stake in the Nigerian joint venture. According to Reuters’ sources, however, the decision may be pushed to a later date, because the Brazilian company could decide to split the bids between the stakes in the two oil blocks.