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UPDATE 1-Petrobras to sell Argentine oil assets for $400 mln -source
February 21, 2013 / 5:00 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Petrobras to sell Argentine oil assets for $400 mln -source

* Argentine sale part of $14.8 bln worldwide asset sale plan

* Firm owns Argentine refineries, pipelines, gas stations

* Petrobras has had difficulty selling Gulf of Mexico assets

By Leila Coimbra

RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA is in advanced talks to sell stakes in its refineries and other assets in Argentina for $400 million to Argentine company Oil Combustibles, a source close to Petrobras said on Thursday.

Reuters reported in November that Petrobras, as the company is known, was interested in selling its stakes in the Dr. Ricardo Eliçabe refinery in Buenos Aires and in the Refinor refinery in the province of Salta.

Petrobras began taking bids for its Argentine assets in December as part of its plan to sell an estimated $14.8 billion of assets to help finance a $237 billion five-year expansion plan, the world’s largest corporate investment program.

In December, Reuters reported that Petrobras was having trouble selling some assets, including $4 billion of offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil company has scrambled to sell assets as fuel subsides and declining production in Brazil have helped drive debt levels beyond its own proposed limits and crimped cash flow.

The source did not specify on Thursday how much of its participation in the refineries Petrobras was in talks to sell.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.

In early afternoon trading in Sao Paulo, Petrobras preferred shares, the company’s most-traded class of stock, fell 1.2 percent in line with declines in the broader market. The stock has lost a quarter of its value in the past four months.

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