December 20, 2016 / 10:38 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil court upholds injunction on Petrobras oilfields sale

(Adds Petrobras statement about asset sale program)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - A Brazilian federal court has rejected an appeal by Petroleo Brasileiro SA to allow the state-controlled oil company to proceed with the sale of two oilfields to Karoon Gas Australia.

The court’s decision to uphold a Nov. 19 injunction on the sale of the Baúna and Tartaruga Verde fields was made public on Monday and confirmed on Tuesday by a Petrobras employees union that sued to block the transaction as well as by Karoon.

In a statement on Tuesday, Karoon said the legal process could only proceed in February 2017 after the court’s recess ended.

Petrobras said in October it was in talks with Karoon to sell the oilfields. An injunction on Nov. 19 suspended the negotiations, prompting Petrobras to appeal two days later.

In a statement late on Tuesday, Petrobras confirmed the suspension of the oilfields sale to Karoon. And said the company is proceeding with other three asset sales allowed by Brazil’s audit court.

The assets close to being sold are Petroquimica Suape and Citepe, for which Mexico’s Alpek SAB de CV is in advanced talks and exploration rights in blocks in the Gulf of Mexico. Petrobras is also in talks to sell its stake in sugar and ethanol producer Guarani SA.

Petrobras announced last Thursday the sale of its stake in ethanol unit Nova Fronteira Bioenergia SA for $133 million in stock. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Paul Simao, Bernard Orr)

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