* Will sell two stakes for total of $25 mln
* Company plans to raise $15.1 bln through asset sales by end-2016
* Sales comes against background of low oil prices (Adds background on Petrobras asset sales, stake sale)
By Caroline Stauffer and Jeb Blount
SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO, July 1 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras moved quickly on Wednesday to deliver on promises to shed assets and raise cash by announcing the sale of stakes in two offshore oilfields and a study of ways to sell part of its fuel-distribution unit.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, agreed to sell its 20 percent interests in the Bijupirá and Salema oil and natural gas fields in Brazil’s Campos Basin northeast of Rio de Janeiro to Petro Rio SA for $25 million, according to a statement.
Petro Rio was formerly known as HRT Participações em Petroleo SA. The fields produce an average total of around 22,000 barrels per day of light crude at 28 to 31 degrees on the American Petroleum Institute (API) scale.
Petrobras also said late Wednesday it was looking at ways to sell part of its Petrobras Distribuidora SA fuel-retail unit, which operates a network, Brazil’s largest, of more than 7,000 service stations.
Both sales are aimed at helping meet a promise made Monday to raise $15.1 billion with asset sales by the end of 2016, part of a new five-year expansion plan. The asset sales are needed to help Petrobras cut its more than $120 billion of debt, the largest of any oil company, and finance $130.3 billion of 2015-2019 investments.
When added to another $42 billion of asset sales, unit closures and corporate restructuring scheduled for 2017-2019, Petrobras hopes to raise more than $57 billion, an amount larger than its current market value of $56 billion.
Some though have suggested the asset sale plans are overly ambitious considering the recently decline in world oil prices, a sluggish world economy. Reuters reported last month that Petrobras was unhappy with the price offered to sell part of its ethanol unit.
Petrobras is also trying to sell stakes to international major oil companies in much larger fields in the neighboring Santos Basin.
Wednesday’s stake sale is worth less than two-tenths of one-percent of its 2015-2016 goal. The sale of the fields follows Petro Rio’s January purchase of 80 percent of the areas from Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Petrobras said an offering of shares in Petrobras Distribuidora will meet the Novo Mercado standard of BM&FBovespa’s Sao Paulo stock exchange. The Novo Mercado requires the exchanges highest level of shareholder rights.
A Petrobras Distribuidora sale would reverse a November 2002 decision to buy out minority investors and delist the company. (Editing by Bernard Orr and Joseph Radford)