Petrobras struggling to sell GoM assets

Still for sale: Petrobras is reportedly struggling to offload its assets in the US Gulf of Mexico

Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras is having trouble selling more than $4 billion of offshore oil exploration and production assets in the US Gulf of Mexico, according to reports.

The Brazilian oil company has discarded plans to sell a stake in its entire Gulf of Mexico holdings to a single partner and has begun seeking partners for individual assets and packages of the oil blocks there, Reuters quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying.

Separately, a Petrobras executive confirmed with the news agency that the company has had great difficulty in selling the assets in the Gulf but declined to elaborate.

Reuters said the sources and the executive spoke on condition of anonymity because the process was still private.

Petrobras launched the auction as part of an asset sale program to support its ambitious expansion plan and Brazil's aim of becoming one of the world's top oil-producing countries by 2020.

The company hopes to sell $14.8 billion of assets this year as soaring costs, falling production and rising fuel imports have crimped Petrobras's ability to pay for a $237 billion five-year expansion plan, the world's largest corporate investment program, Reuters reported.

The Brazilian giant posted its first quarterly loss in 13 years in the second quarter of this year.

In May, Petrobras Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa called the Gulf of Mexico assets "probably the most important" piece of the company's sale program.

Petrobras has about 190 exploration blocks under lease from the US government in the Gulf of Mexico and in the middle of the last decade it was the largest single buyer of deep-water blocks in the area, according to Reuters.

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