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OIL AND GAS
Despite court order, Statoil upbeat about Brazil
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Apr 19, 2017


Norwegian energy company Statoil said its portfolio in Brazil, where it is one of the largest operators, was on solid footing despite a court-ordered injunction.

Statoil confirmed to UPI that a federal court in Brazil granted an injunction to suspend the acquisition of an offshore exploration license from the state-run oil company known as Petrobras because of some concerns about competition.

"This acquisition was a result of a competitive process as part of Petrobras' divestment plan," Statoil spokesman Erik Haaland said in response to emailed questions. "The deal has been was duly reviewed and approved by the Brazilian anti-trust agency, the National Petroleum Agency, as well as the partners in the license, and closed as of Nov. 22."

Oil and gas company Statoil, in which the Norwegian government has a stake, started the year by announcing plans to drill approximately 30 exploration wells this year, compared with 23 last year. More than half of the new wells planned for this year will target basins on the Norwegian continental shelf, though the company has a strong presence and planned activity offshore Brazil.

Petrobras, known formally as Petroleo Brasileiro, said in 2015 that it aims to move past a "sad chapter" after taking a massive loss in a graft scandal. In December, after selling off some of its subsidiaries in Mexico for a combined value of $385 million, the company said its divestment program was about $1 billion short of the target for the year.

In March, Petrobras teamed up with French energy company Total in a $2.25 billion joint venture agreement. Total's payments to Petrobras include $1.6 billion in cash. The Brazilian company in turn handed over enough of a stake in some of its more lucrative fields so that Total is a minority partner.

OIL AND GAS
US wants 'strong' Saudi Arabia: Mattis
Riyadh (AFP) April 19, 2017
The United States wants to see a strong Saudi Arabia, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said during talks Wednesday aimed at reinvigorating the Riyadh-Washington alliance. Mattis, meeting the most powerful figures in the Saudi capital, also hinted that President Donald Trump could visit the kingdom, a longtime US ally which has welcomed Washington's firmer line against common adversary Iran. ... read more

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