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BP raises stakes in Brazil oil

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (UPI) May 12, 2011
BP is increasing its share of the Brazilian hydrocarbons market and is negotiating to buy stakes in oil fields and areas still up for exploration.

BP is already active across Brazil through various subsidiary operations but put its expansion plans on hold following the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon spill last year.

This week BP received final approval to complete its purchase of 10 exploration and production blocks in Brazil from Devon Energy, an independent natural gas and oil exploration and production company with headquarters in Oklahoma City.

The regulatory approvals from the Brazilian National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency were the last required to conclude the agreement announced in March 2010.

BP said it expected to complete shortly its formal acquisition of the existing and new fields and exploration areas.

Once completed the deal will give BP a diverse and broad deepwater exploration acreage position offshore Brazil with interests in eight license blocks in the Campos and Camamu-Almada basins in water depths ranging from 330 to 9,100 feet, as well as two onshore licenses in the Parnaiba basin.

The Campos basin blocks include four discoveries -- Xerelete, pre-salt Wahoo, Itaipu and Fragata -- and the Polvo field, which is currently producing around 25,000 barrels of oil per day.

"We are pleased to receive the approvals," said Bob Dudley, BP Group chief executive. "The completion of this acquisition delivers a material position in some of Brazil's most important hydrocarbon basins and reinforces the group's strategy of securing strong exploration positions in such basins and working with strong national champions."

He said the Brazilian acquisitions would add "distinctive value to our asset base, and offer significant long-term growth potential."

"It is exciting to participate in the development of the oil industry in such an important country as Brazil and the Devon acquisition provides us with an excellent growth platform," BP Brazil Regional President Guillermo Quintero said.

In April BP completed the acquisition of the majority control of Brazilian producer of ethanol and sugar Companhia Nacional de Acucar e Alcool. BP said it paid approximately $680 million to acquire 83 percent of the shares and refinance 100 percent of the company's long-term debt.

BP will be responsible for operating two ethanol plants located in Ituiutaba in Minas Gerais state and Itumbiara in Goias state.

BP's return to oil exploration and production operations in Brazil adds to the investments already being made by other BP Group companies in the country in the area of biofuels, lubricants and aviation fuels.

BP companies are present in nine Brazilian states and the Federal District.

Castrol, BP's lubricants business, established its lubricants plant in Rio de Janeiro in 1957, from where it manufactures a wide variety of lubricants for engines and industrial equipment.

Air BP, the BP Group aviation fuel unit, began its operations in Brazil in 2002. It supplies aviation fuel at 13 airports in five Brazilian states and the Federal District, Brasilia.

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