RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Petroleo Brasileiro SA from Brazil PETR4.SA is preparing to sell a 50% stake in the marine oil cluster in its legacy, the company said Monday in a filing.
In production since the 1980s in the Campos Atlantic Ocean basin, the giant Marlim cluster has four fields – Marlim, Voador, Marlim Leste and Marlim Sul – producing 217,000 barrels of oil per day, or nearly 10% of the company’s total production.
The sale, at an early stage, is part of Petrobras’ plan to sell non-core assets to cut debt and focus investment in the world’s largest deepwater discovery this century, in the so-called pre-salt region.
Newer pre-saline deposits, found under a thick layer of salt on the seabed in Brazilian waters, have increased rapidly in the last decade and are responsible for more than 70% of Petrobras production.
Marlim was once the largest oil field with more than 500,000 barrels per day, Marlim has experienced a decline in production in the last decade. At present, Marlim Sul and Marlim are Brazil’s sixth and eighth largest oil fields, respectively. Marlim Sul has the largest number of producing wells in Brazil, 67.
The four fields which also produce 3.6 million cubic meters of natural gas are located between 90-150 kilometers offshore and up to 2,500 meters below the seabed.
Petrobras shares rose more than 4% in Sao Paulo following the announcement.
Reporting by Sabrina Valle, editing by Louise Heavens and Steve Orlofsky
BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese city of Jinan said at the end of last week it had detected the coronavirus in beef and tripe and its packaging from Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand, while two other provincial capitals detected it on packaging for pork from Argentina.
China is stepping up testing on frozen food after repeatedly detecting the virus in imported products, triggering an import ban, even as the World Health Organization says the risk of catching COVID-19 from frozen food is low.
In Jinan, the capital of China’s eastern province of Shandong, the goods involved were imported by a unit of the Guotai International Group 002091.SZ, and the Shanghai Zhongli Development Trade, the city’s municipal health commission said late Saturday.
They entered through the port in Shanghai, he said, without specifying the company that shipped the products to China. More than 7,500 people who may have been exposed have tested negative for the coronavirus, he said.
Cases of frozen pork were reported in Zhengzhou, the capital of central China’s Henan province, and Xian, the capital of Shaanxi. It was not immediately clear whether the two cases were linked.
The sample that tested positive in Zhengzhou came from frozen pork weighing 24 tonnes shipped from a storage facility in Qingdao, in Shandong, authorities said.
China, the world’s biggest beef buyer, last week found the coronavirus in Argentine beef packaging in Shandong and Jiangsu, and on Brazilian beef packaging in Wuhan.
Separately, the city of Baotou in China’s Inner Mongolia region said it had disinfected several products and vehicles at a company after an asymptomatic coronavirus case in the northern city of Tianjin came into contact with a batch of frozen pork from France.
It is unclear whether the authorities suspect the person has infected the meat or vice versa. Nucleic acid tests on 115 people came back negative, authorities said.
Reporting by Shivani Singh and Roxanne Liu in Beijing; additional reporting by Tom Daly; Edited by William Mallard and Gareth Jones
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Woodside Petroleum suspended talks to sell a stake in a gas field and liquefied natural gas (LNG) project to Chinese companies several months ago due to a growing diplomatic row between Australia and China, the company chief said on Thursday.
Chief Executive Peter Coleman said he hoped to revive the talks when the fighting died down.
Woodside has been negotiating with China’s national oil companies, including PetroChina Co. 601857.SS, and a second tier company to sell a “modest” stake in the connected Scarborough gas field and the Pluto 2 LNG Train project, which will cover a portion of the gas sale.
“They told us a few months ago that they cannot continue at this time because of the relationship between China and Australia,” said Coleman.
“So we were a little frustrated and disappointed by that. But we hope things will get better and we will be able to bring them back to the standings, ”he said in an interview.
Diplomatic relations with China, Australia’s main trading partner, have deteriorated after Canberra called for an international investigation into the source of the coronavirus.
The damaged relationship has hit exports of Australian coal, barley, wine, timber and lobster, but analysts expect LNG to be immune because Australia is the largest LNG supplier to China.
“The restrictions, so far, do not appear to be affecting Australian LNG exports to China,” research firm EnergyQuest said in a report on Thursday.
EnergyQuest estimates China imported 23.5 million tonnes of Australian LNG in the first 10 months of this year, in line with the first 10 months of last year.
Coleman said the diplomatic spat did not hurt Woodside’s existing partnerships with Chinese companies in Australia and Myanmar, where he said relations were “very good”.
Woodside also wants to sell its recently enlarged stake in the Sangomar oil project in Senegal.
CNOOC China has ties to Woodside’s former Senegal partner, FAR Ltd. FAR.AX, for a project in West Africa. Coleman said he did not see any diplomatic spatter stopping CNOOC from offering for shares in Sangomar.
“No. The Australia-China thing is very specific for investment in Australia. This is not a general problem,” Coleman said.
The collapse of Woodside’s talks with China was first reported by the Australian Financial Review on Wednesday.
Reporting by Sonali Paul; Edited by Christian Schmollinger and Michael Perry
(Opinions expressed here are those of the author, columnist for Reuters.)
LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – Australia is turning into an example of what happens when markets leave policymakers, with renewables attracting investment dollars even as a conservative government clings to its vision of a natural gas future.
Two recent announcements underlined that Australia is moving towards an energy future where renewable energy plays the biggest role, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s proposed gas-based recovery may turn into a white elephant.
Fortescue Metal Group FMG.AXThe world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner built from scratch by billionaire Andrew Forrest outlined his plans on Wednesday to become a global renewable energy giant.
Forrest said his company has so far committed A $ 1 billion ($ 731 million) to build a portfolio of renewable energy assets, including green hydrogen and ammonia, and has a target of having an installed energy capacity of 225 gigawatts (GW).
“With scale and innovation, we will be able to increase the supply of green hydrogen and green ammonia to deliver low-cost energy reliably on an industrial scale to customers around the world,” he said at the Fortescue annual meeting.
A second example is the attempt by the state government in Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state and home to Melbourne, to build a 300 megawatt battery as part of an effort to build electricity capacity.
“With climate change resulting in hotter summers, peak electricity demand is increasing. At the same time, the aging coal fired generators in Victoria are becoming increasingly unreliable, resulting in the need for additional capacity to ensure the state’s electricity supply, “the state government said in a statement on its website.
“This additional capacity will lower electricity prices for all Victorians and provide significant net benefits for Victoria, far exceeding project costs,” the government said.
There are two key messages to unlock in that statement.
The first is that coal-fired power plants, which have long been a mainstay of the Victorian, and even Australian electrical systems, are now considered old and unreliable.
Second, installing the battery, which will be the largest in Australia, will result in lower and profitable electricity prices.
This cuts the argument from Morrison, who heads the federal-Liberal-National coalition government, and proponents of the gas-fired recovery that renewable energy cannot provide adequate reliability and will be costly.
The federal government’s gas-fired recovery plan rests on subsidizing the transport of natural gas from remote areas where it is found to major urban centers on Australia’s east coast.
This may also involve the government building its own gas-fired power plant near Sydney’s largest city, given that no private sector generator currently has plans to build such a plant, mainly citing the absence of a lucrative business case.
What Morrison hasn’t elaborated on is the extent to which subsidies are needed to make natural gas “cheap” enough to compete with renewables in the Australian power market.
Given that most natural gas is located in remote basins thousands of kilometers (miles) from major cities on the east coast, it is likely that these subsidies will need to be large, and long-lasting, for the fuel to be competitive.
There’s an old saying that anything can be made to work if there is enough taxpayer subsidies to do it, and it seems like this is the path Morrison is looking to follow.
It is likely to be expensive for taxpayers and worse than if the same money was invested in increasing use of renewable energy, powered by battery storage or pumped hydro, or even powered by gas-fired peak power plants.
But the most damning reaction to Morrison’s gas-based recovery plan has been how markets ignore it and move on.
MELBOURNE / SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Woodside Petroleum suspended talks to sell shares in a gas field and liquefied natural gas (LNG) project to Chinese companies over a diplomatic spat between Australia and China, the company’s chief executive said on Thursday.
Chief Executive Peter Coleman said the talks were suspended several months ago but he hopes to revive them when diplomatic spats die down.
Diplomatic relations with China, Australia’s biggest trading partner, deteriorated after Canberra called for an international investigation into the source of the coronavirus.
“They told us a few months ago that they cannot continue at this time because of the relationship between China and Australia,” Coleman told Reuters in an interview.
Woodside has been in talks with China’s national oil companies, including PetroChina Co. 601857.SS, and a second tier company to sell a modest stake in the connected Scarborough gas field and the Pluto 2 LNG Train project, which will include gas sales.
Coleman said the broken relationship did not affect Woodside’s existing partnerships with Chinese companies in its main projects. Australia is by far the largest LNG supplier to China, accounting for about 40% of Chinese imports in September.
Australian agricultural officials last week warned 400 exporters recently of customs delays in China and commercial losses, including live crayfish awaiting customs clearance in Shanghai.
Chinese officials deny coordinated action being taken against Australian products.
Australia on Thursday said China had stopped importing all wood from Victoria state after customs officials said they had found the pest.
Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the General Administration of Customs in China had informed the agriculture department that “all log exports from the state of Victoria were suspended from November 11”.
A notice of the suspension was posted on the Chinese Customs General Administration website on Wednesday. It also said Beijing had urged local customs in the south to further strengthen controls on all Australian timber.
Local customs had to return or destroy shipments of wood found with quarantine pests and not being dealt with effectively, he said.
The ban comes a week after China stopped importing timber from the northeastern state of Queensland, and Chinese importers told media they had been called to meetings and informally informed by officials that Australian products would face increased customs checks after November 6.
The Australian timber industry union, CFMEU manufactures, said tens of thousands of jobs were at stake as Australia exports about $ 600 million of logs (logs) to China each year, about 60% of all log exports.
Additional reporting by Hallie Gu at BEIJING; Edited by Michael Perry