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Do Not Panic | Petrobras Can Bid on Libra


“Libra will bring much less than currently projected, but the Chinese are not worried in the least. They want oil”


Topic: Libra Auction

Translated: C. Brayton

What if you invited everyone to attend an auction of enormous oil reserves and no one came?

This seems to be the question of the day, with the usual polarization of opinion. André Garcez Ghirardi stakes his claim to an editorial in CartaCapital magazine in which he poses the question, “Why not Petrobras?”

But first, Tijolaço, for whom the Chinese and the federal government of Brazil will pick up the slack. In fact, this just in from the Estado de S. Paulo.

Government is willing to finance Petrobras in the Libra auction. 

But first, let us hear from Tijolaço.

As U .S. and British oil companies have given up on participating in the Libra auction, the market, the press and the government have absorbed the efffect. There were fears that the Brazilian media, after the Americans exited, would mount some sort of campaign to undermine the auction. The remaining bidders, however, count on good advice from their PR department and conquered the sympathy of the newspapers.

Even President Dilma, speaking through an aide, opened the game to the State: the federal government will, indeed, play hardball so that Petrobrás will take the largest possible stake in the Libra field, along with a minimum stake of 30% [by other investors]. BNDES and the Treasury will be able to lend assets so that the state-owned oil company can participate in the auction as a solo act.

A representative of Repsol, expected to associate itself with the Chinese Sinopec and Petrobrás to explore Libra, even phoned Merval Pereira, to calm him down. He need not be so worried about an exceess of state investment; the executive said it would be “asinine” not to get in the game at this point. .

The Folha reached readers this morning with a special section on oil, which has a lovely infograph on the field.

The flight on American capital can be explained by several motives. One of these is the existence of a government muy amigo in Mexico, which promises to offer advantageous conditions for major oil companies to explore its reserves. A recent report from the Washington Post says, however, that there exists a deep skepticism in the oil-producing cities regarding the plan by Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, to deregulate the energy sector even more. 

Another reason may be a study published in Mexico not long ago, according to which Chinese imports will achieve US$ 550 billions, whereas the EUA, which peaked at US$ 330 billion a few yearsago, should decline to US$ 160 billion, mostly because of the substitution of petroleum by schist.

China has greater needs than does the U.S. and for that reason is inclined to establish a more stable contract with Brazil. 

The prediction that the U.S. will substitute schist for petroleum, reinforces the need for Brazil to accelerate the extraction and sale of deep-water oil. It can never discard the risk of alternative energy sources. 

In an interview with today’s special section, Adriano Pires says that Libra will take in “much less than current projections.” Because it is a violently unpredictable commodity, not even Mother Dinah would dare to predict.  One expert, as Libra shares declined on the eve of the action, makes it quite clear whoses interests he represents . Not even Pires, however, is above borrowing a cliché, The Chinese are inclined to pay more and on more favorable terms,for a question of national energy security. 


To what extent is Petrobras participation a matter of national security — energy independence?

There seem to be several schools of thought.

First, André Garcez Ghirardi .

Does the Libra auction preserve the “national interest”? This is, obviously, a broad topic and prone to various interpretations. Unlike what prevailed at the CNPE, the objection presented to the Senate believes that the  national interest is best served if production from the Libra field be negotiated directly with Petrobras. 

Taking the history of the industry as a point of reference, the main attribute of national interest, in this case, is the so-called “energy security” and is understood as a guaranteed supply to support the national economy in cases of reduced supply on the world market. This is the principal line of thought behind all of the states of the Federation with respect to oil. 

And finally, Mauro Zannata of the Estadão (to be translated).

O governo federal fará “todo o esforço” necessário para garantir a “missão” da Petrobrás no megaleilão do campo de Libra, na Bacia de Santos, informou um auxiliar direto da presidente Dilma Rousseff ao ‘Estado’.

O governo garantirá à estatal, segundo a autoridade, “todas as condições” para o cumprimento da exigência legal de operar ao menos 30% de todos os blocos de petróleo e gás natural de Libra. E também “está disposto” a fornecer recursos para o pagamento do bônus de assinatura do contrato, previsto para novembro.

Pelas regras, a Petrobrás terá de desembolsar R$ 4,5 bilhões para bancar o chamado bônus de assinatura referente à sua participação obrigatória de 30% no consórcio vencedor. Se elevar sua fatia no consórcio, a companhia terá de aumentar a oferta. O bônus total soma R$ 15 bilhões.

Embora avalie que a estatal terá caixa para cumprir o compromisso, o governo poderia usar empréstimos do BNDES ou autorizar recursos do Tesouro Nacional para cacifar a empresa em caso de necessidade de financiamento adicional para elevar sua fatia no leilão. Procurado, o Tesouro não se manifestou sobre o assunto.

Esta semana, a presidente da Petrobrás, Graça Foster, disse que a companhia teria plenas condições técnicas e operacionais para explorar 100% do campo de Libra, mas não teria condições financeiras para arcar sozinha com o leilão. A estatal, informa-se nos bastidores, negocia parceria com chineses em um consórcio para elevar sua fatia no negócio. “É uma espécie de ‘swap’, que inclui capital à Petrobrás e petróleo aos chineses”, diz um senador a par das negociações.