Sweden's Maha Energy eyes Petrobras' Tartaruga field in Brazil

The logo of Brazil's state-run Petrobras oil company is seen on a tank in at Petrobras Paulinia refinery in Paulinia, Brazil July 1, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 12 (Reuters) - Stockholm-based Maha Energy AB (MAHAa.ST) remains interested in purchasing Petrobras' stake in the Tartaruga oil field in northeastern Brazil after the company's first attempt at buying the asset was unsuccessful, Victoria Berg, the company's investor relations officer, told Reuters in an e-mail on Tuesday.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA), as the state-run oil company is formally known, announced in 2020 that it was selling its 25% minority stake in Tartaruga, a small shallow-water field off Brazil's Sergipe state. The remaining 75% already belongs to Maha.

On Monday, however, Petrobras said the sale process was unsuccessful and that it was starting its attempt to divest Tartaruga from scratch.

While there was no information disclosed on the bidders, Maha and Petrobras had entered into talks regarding the stake, Berg said. Those talks ultimately failed due to "financial/contractual" reasons, according to Berg.

"Maha will most likely be interested in participating of the relaunched Tartaruga divestment as this represents a natural growth opportunity in a block that we currently operate and plan to further develop having allocated capital investments in the near term," Berg wrote in the e-mail.

Petrobras did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

As of 2020, Tartaruga produced about 580 barrels per day of oil, according to Petrobras. A third well under construction could significantly increase that figure.

The Tartaruga stake is expected to yield a relatively low price compared to other upstream assets being sold by Petrobras, given its modest production. However, a sale would allow the firm to reallocate resources to its much more profitable and prolific deepwater operations, which have been the firm's core focus in recent years.

Maha, which focuses on existing and mature oilfields, has exploration and production operations in Brazil, Illinois, Wyoming and Oman, according to its website.

Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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Thomson Reuters

Washington-based correspondent covering campaigns and Congress. Previously posted in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santiago, Chile, and has reported extensively throughout Latin America. Co-winner of the 2021 Reuters Journalist of the Year Award in the business coverage category for a series on corruption and fraud in the oil industry. He was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College.