UPDATE 1-Brazil's Petrobras opens bids for Argentine assets- report

Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:53am EST

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BUENOS AIRES Dec 14 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras will put assets in neighboring Argentina up for sale on Friday, Argentine daily newspaper La Nacion reported, quoting unnamed sources.

Late last month, a company source told Reuters that Petrobras planned to sell all its refineries outside of Brazil as part of an asset-sale plan aimed at helping finance expansion at home.

According to Friday's report, Petrobras has hired Scotiabank Brazil to manage the sale and look for possible buyers. It has already spoken to Argentina's state-controlled energy firm YPF, Pluspetrol, Tecpetrol and Bridas, the report said.

YPF's shares jumped over 7 percent to 90.8 pesos per share in early afternoon trade in Buenos Aires.

Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras owns a 31,500 barrel per day refinery in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, and a 28.5 percent stake in another Argentine refinery in Salta province. The 32,000-bpd refinery is also 50 percent owned by YPF and 21.5 percent by Pluspetrol.

La Nacion said Petrobras initially planned to maintain its interests in Argentina's giant Vaca Muerta shale energy field and offshore in the Mar Argentino basin, where it is working with YPF and state energy company Enarsa.

The Brazilian company also owns about 300 service stations in Argentina, the newspaper said.

No one at Petrobras in Argentina could immediately be reached for comment.

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