Latin Lawyer – Petro Rio buys stake in Brazil’s Frade oil field

Luis Bulcao Pinheiro
09 November 2018

Petro Rio buys stake in Brazil’s Frade oil field


Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados in Rio de Janeiro has helped Brazilian oil company Petro Rio acquire Frade Japão, giving it a stake in the Chevron-controlled Frade oil field.

White & Case LLP in Melbourne and Tokyo and Schmidt, Valois, Miranda, Ferreira, Agel Advogados in Rio de Janeiro advised the sellers, Inpex and Sojitz.

Dutch firm Houthoff is thought to have advised Petro Rio, but this could not be confirmed prior to publication.

The transaction was signed on 26 October, but no deal value was disclosed.

Chevron controls production in Frade. It owns a 51.74% in the field, while Petrobras owns 30%. Petro Rio now owns the remaining 18.26% stake. The field is located 120 kilometres off Rio de Janeiro’s coast, in the Campos basin.

Several firms represented Chevron in a long litigation following an oil spill at Frade in 2011. Since then, the company has made efforts to recover the level of production in the field, but Petrobras’ decision not to drill new wells in the area recently derailed plans, according to Reuters.

Petro Rio’s chief executive said the company is willing to acquire Petrobras’ stake in Frade. The state-owned company has been following a vigorous divestment programme since it was hit by a sprawling corruption scandal, probed by Operation Car Wash. It also has a high debt burden as a result of investment commitments in Brazil’s pre-salt exploration areas.

In December the company undertook its largest-ever upstream sale, handing a 25% stake in its third-largest oil field in Brazil to Norway’s Equinor (formerly known as Statoil) for US$2.9 billion. In the same month, Petrobras’s retail and distribution arm carried out a US$1.6 billion IPO to help tackle the company’s debt load. Petrobras has also refrained from further investment in Brazil’s pre-salt, paving the way for international companies to obtain larger stakes in Brazil’s oil exploration sector.

Counsel to Petro Rio

In-house counsel – Maria Goldberg, Johanna Coelho, Eduardo Faoro and João Pedro Figueiredo

Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados

Partner Giovani Loss and associates Nilton Mattos, Bruno Chedid, Jessica Den Dekker and Maria Clara Coelho in Rio de Janeiro

Counsel to Inpex

In-house counsel to Inpex – Luke Russell, Nithia Dory and Justin Wilson

In-house counsel to Sojitz – Tom Bowes

In-house counsel to Frade Japão – Marco Webler

White & Case LLP

Partners John Tivey in Melbourne and Alexander Woody in Tokyo

Schmidt, Valois, Miranda, Ferreira, Agel Advogados

Partners Paulo Valois Pires and Gustavo Braga, and associates Lara Lebreiro, Rodrigo Pinheiro and José Eduardo Siqueira in Rio de Janeiro

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