UPDATE 4-Petrobras sells oilfield asset to Statoil for $2.5 bln
* Sale kick-starts Petrobras' $15.1 bln asset-sale program
* Statoil buys 66 pct stake in giant Brazil Carcará prospect
* Says area has as much as 1.3 bln boe of recoverable resources
* Statoil hopes Carcará will replace Norway output in 2020s (New throughout, adds information on Petrobras asset sale program, Petrobras comment, changes byline, dateline)
By Jeb Blount and Stine Jacobsen
RIO DE JANEIRO/OSLO, July 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's Petrobras on Friday agreed to sell one of its largest oil and gas prospects to Norway's Statoil for $2.5 billion, the boldest step yet by the state-led energy company to advance its stagnant asset-sale plan and repair its battered finances.
The agreement will give Statoil ASA 66 percent ownership and operator status in a block that is home to Carcará, a prospect that Statoil says contains 700 million to 1.3 billion barrels of oil and equivalent natural gas. That would equate to all petroleum needs in the United States for at least five weeks and up to two months.
The deal is for the BM-S-8 offshore exploration license now owned by Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, the companies said in statements. The stake gives state-controlled Statoil two-thirds of the oil and gas produced in Carcará, bolstering non-Norwegian output as production from mature fields declines.
Petrobras Chief Financial Officer Ivan Monteiro said the sale proves his company is serious about plans to sell $15.1 billion of assets in 2015 and 2016 and pay down its $130 billion of debt, most in the oil industry. Continuación...