Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sonangol Seeks Brazil Partners After Starfish Buy


By Peter Millard

(Bloomberg) -- Sonangol SA, Angola’s state oil company, will seek partners to help fund the development of Brazilian offshore blocks after buying exploration company Starfish Oil & Gas, an official said.

The African oil producer plans to sell minority stakes in the fields that belong to Rio de Janeiro-based Starfish to raise cash, Candido Cardoso, Sonangol’s manager in the South American country, said today in an e-mailed response to questions.

Starfish operates three blocks in Brazil’s shallow waters, two in the country’s offshore Campos Basin and one in the Santos Basin, according to its website. State-run Petroleo Brasiliero SA has a 40 percent stake in the company’s BM-S-60 Santos block.

Foreign oil companies including Sinochem Group, BP Plc, Inpex Corp. and Ecopetrol SA have bought stakes in Brazilian oil fields this year. Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras is developing the largest oil field discovered in the Americas since 1976 in the so-called pre-salt area off Brazil’s coast.

OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA, the oil company controlled by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, plans to sell a 20 percent stake in the seven blocks it has in the Campos Basin. Repsol YPF SA said April 29 it is looking to sell individual assets in Brazil or carry out an initial public offering for its unit in the country.

Sonangol bought Starfish earlier this year and had a stake in the company before the purchase, Cardoso said, declining to disclose the value of the acquisition. Starfish also has 20 onshore blocks in the country and the company has found signs of oil and natural gas at the Potiguar Basin.

--Editors: Jessica Brice, Dale Crofts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Millard in Rio de Janeiro at Pmillard1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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