See also:
» 06.04.2010 - São Tomé gets ferry link with Cape Verde
» 04.01.2007 - São Tomé airport repairs hinder flight ban
» 11.12.2006 - São Tomé nets US$52m at donor meeting
» 31.10.2006 - Angola to explore São Tomé oil
» 17.01.2005 - Cape Verde to assist Diaspora in São Tomé
» 23.09.2004 - US expands military presence in Africa
» 02.07.2004 - São Tomé seeks Nigeria's aid in energy matters
» 18.05.2004 - Support for São Tomé's social sectors

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São Tomé and Príncipe
Economy - Development

Brazil's Petrobras interested in São Tomé oilfields

afrol News, 20 October - Brazil's national energy company Petrobras finally has demonstrated interest in the upcoming oil exploitation offshore São Tomé and Príncipe after having been invited to the country for years. Petrobras, which already operates in neighbouring Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, sent a delegation to negotiate business terms with São Tomé authorities.

The Petrobras delegation went to the fellow Portuguese speaking archipelago before the weekend and had talks with São Toméan Natural Resources Minister Luís Moreira da Silva. The aim of the talks, Petrobras representatives told the news agency Pana, was to "effectuate businesses as soon as possible."

After the talks it however remained undisclosed how Petrobras was to enter in the São Toméan oil sector. Although invited by the government, Petrobras has so far not participated in any bid round to explore or exploit oil in São Toméan waters. There were also no tenders from Petrobras as seven oil blocks in the joint development zone shared by Nigeria and São Tomé and Príncipe last year were offered to international oil companies.

For the São Tomé government, it has however been of diplomatic importance to recruit the Brazilian oil giant to its still unexploited offshore oil fields. Brazil and São Tomé are strongly connected in the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), where Portugal and Brazil are the main investors.

During the state visit of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in São Tomé in November last year, his counterpart, President Fradique de Menezes had urged for Brazilian investments in his country's oil sector. The São Toméan President told President Lula that he had been disappointed as there had so far been no bid by Petrobras to exploit São Toméan oil.

While the Brazilian President at that stage could not promise any future tenders by Petrobras, the two Heads of State nevertheless signed an agreement regarding technical aid to develop the São Toméan oil sector. Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP) since has assisted São Toméan authorities in creating a legal base for the national oil industry.

The Brazilian government since that is believed to have pressured the Petrobras executive to look into business possibilities in São Tomé. Petrobras is believed to enter the São Toméan market in cooperation with Chinese partner oil companies that already operate offshore the archipelago.

Petrobras is already heavily involved in the Gulf of Guinea. Its largest operations in the region are in Angola, accounting for almost 5 percent of the Brazilian company's foreign oil production. Petrobras is also involved offshore Nigeria and in a shared Nigerian-Equatoguinean zone, both operations being close to São Tomé's offshore zone.

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