A federal court in Brazil has suspended the transfer of Petrobras' stake in the BM-S-8 exploration block, which contains the Carcará field, to Norway's Statoil, and exploration of the field, until further deliberation, the Brazilian state-owned firm announced Monday (17 April).
Petrobras is promising that it will take the appropriate legal action on behalf of its investors and its own interests.
Statoil has issued a statement about the ruling:
"Statoil has been made aware of the decision that has granted an injunction to suspend the Carcará sale process and all activities related to it," said Erik Haaland, Statoil press spokesman, to OE. "This acquisition was a result of a competitive process as part of Petrobras’ divestment plan. The deal has been approved by the Brazilian anti-trust agency (CADE), the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) as well as the partners in the license, and closed as of 22 November 2016.
"While respecting the court’s decision, Statoil is confident that Brazilian institutions will confirm the legality of this transaction and the company will take appropriate actions to support this," Haaland concluded.
In July 2016, Petrobras agreed to sell its 66% operated interest the block containing Carcará to Statoil for US$2.5 billion. The deal had closed in late November that year, and the Norwegian major was expected to assume operatorship.
Petrobras said in its statement that it has already spent $1.25 billion it received from Statoil for the block to pay down the debt of its wholly-owned subsidiary Transportadora Associada de Gas (TAG).
Carcará was discovered in 2012, on the geological trend of the nearby Lula field and Libra area. It is a "world-class" discovery of high-quality oil of around 30° API and with associated gas in a thick reservoir with excellent properties. Statoil, at the time the sale was announced, said it expected to achieve a declaration of commerciality in 2018 and a final investment decision in 2020.
Carcará straddles both BM-S-8 and open acreage to the north, which is expected to be part of a license round in 2017.