(Adds detail about Reuters Tuesday article, Petrobras asset sales, Libra area)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, is not considering selling a 10 percent stake in its giant Libra offshore oil prospect at this time, the state-run oil company said on Friday.
Petrobras was responding to a report on Tuesday by Reuters that two industry sources had been told by the company that the Libra stake was on offer. Petrobras is offering investors the chance to buy oil fields, refineries and other properties in an effort to cut debt by selling $15.1 billion of assets by the end of 2016.
A sale of the stake could fetch up to $1.5 billion, according to analysts at Macquarie, and may attract more interest than some of the other areas the company has tried but failed to sell in recent years.
Libra has an estimated 8 billion to 12 billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas resources, making it one of the world’s largest undeveloped oil areas, or enough to provide all oil needs in the United States for as much as 20 months at current consumption levels.
So far, Petrobras has sold only about 3 percent of its asset sale goal and Chief Executive Aldemir Bendine has told Brazil’s congress that the company will not be able to make payments on its debt and maintain a $19 billion investment plan next year without meeting asset-sale goals.
Petrobras’ nearly $130 billion of debt is the largest of any oil company and one of the largest of any industrial company in the world.
Petrobras owns 40 percent of Libra and is the area’s operator. France’s Total SA owns 20 percent, Royal Dutch Shell Plc 20 percent, and China’s CNOOC and China National Petroleum Co each own 10 percent. (Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Richard Chang and James Dalgleish)