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Petrobras still no able to sale assets due to judicial entanglement



Petroleumworld.com 03 20 2017

A regional oil workers' union said on Thursday that an injunction freezing sales of assets by Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras, including its fuels distribution unit, will continue to block divestiture, despite an audit court ruling allowing sales to go ahead.

Brazil's federal audit court TCU on Wednesday allowed Petroleo Brasileiro SA to proceed with its divestment program, but required the company to restart the processes in all but two projects.

The TCU ruling overturned an injunction that suspended sales in December and would allow Petrobras to proceed with the sale of a controlling stake in BR Distribuidora.

However, the lawyer for the Sindipetro-AL/SE union, Raquel Sousa, said the union's injunction obtained in the state of Sergipe remained in effect.

"BR Distribuidora still cannot be sold. The TCU ruling does not overrule previous judicial decision," she told Reuters.

Petrobras did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Besides the distribution company, the injunction has blocked the sale of the Baúna and Tartaruga Verde oil fields, the Baúna and Tartaruga Verde oil fields, as well as inland fields in the states of Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Bahia and Espírito Santo.

"The National Oil Workers Federation's fight against the sale of Petrobras assets continues," Sousa said.

The injunction issued in November forced Petrobras to suspend talks with Karoon Gas Australia Ltd on the sale of a 100 percent stake in the 45,000 barrels-per-day Bauna field, in the Santos Basin, and a 50 percent interest in Tartaruga Verde, still in development, in the Campos Basin.

Karoon said in a statement that it understood that Petrobras is continuing with court proceedings to have the injunction lifted. It said the TCU decision was "separate and distinct" from the Sergipe court proceedings against Petrobras.

Story by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Leslie Adler from Reuters.

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