| RIO DE JANEIRO/KUALA LUMPUR
RIO DE JANEIRO/KUALA LUMPUR Aug 27 Petroliam
Nasional Bhd, the Malaysian state oil company, said a final
agreement to buy a stake in an oil field owned by Brazil's OGX
Petróleo e Gas Participações SA is being held up by
the completion of OGX's debt restructuring plan.
Petronas, as the Malaysian company is known, agreed in May
to pay $850 million for a 40 percent stake in two blocks of
OGX's Tubarão Martello field. Regulator ANP has not approved the
deal because Petronas has yet to present the necessary financial
guarantees to back up the purchase, a government source told
Reuters late on Monday.
A successful sale could help OGX avoid collapse. But
Petronas Chief Executive Shamsul Azhar Abbas said OGX's "debt
restructuring has to happen first" for the deal to be finalized.
The acquisition of the stake "is still pending clarity with
regard to the restructuring exercise," Abbas told reporters in
The Tubarão Martelo field straddles the two blocks in which
Petronas bought a 40 percent stake and is about 95 km (59 miles)
off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.
Its estimated 285 million barrels of recoverable oil and
natural gas equivalent resources could supply all of Malaysia's
oil needs for about 15 months.
Eike Batista, OGX's controlling shareholder, is grappling
with a big debt pile and dwindling confidence in his crumbling
Grupo EBX conglomerate of mining and energy firms.
OGX faces bond interest payments of about $40 million in
October and $100 million in December, and analysts such as
Marcus Sequeira of Deutsche Bank Securities have warned the
company might run out of cash by September.
Shares of OGX tumbled 6.2 percent on Tuesday, the first
decline in eight sessions. OGX's 8.375 percent bond due in 2022
traded at 17 cents on the dollar on Tuesday,
slightly below Monday's price and deep into distressed
According to CEO Abbas, Petronas is not involved in OGX's
debt restructuring plan.
Holders of OGX's $3.6 billion in bonds hired investment
banking firm Rothschild to advise on a potential restructuring,
two sources told Reuters last week. Pacific Investment
Management Co, the world's largest bond investor known as Pimco,
is one firm leading the so-called creditors' committee, which
own more than one-half OGX's outstanding bonds.
The selection of Rothschild followed a recent move by OGX to
hire Blackstone Group LP to help "review its capital