Not long ago, it appeared that Brazil's Petrobras
While that observation hasn't changed noticeably, it now looks like it'll take longer than was originally expected. Earlier this month, the country's Congress flashed the go-ahead for plans that should ultimately catapult the company into a ranking position among the world's oil producers. After months of squabbling, the Senate squeezed out a bill to alter the country's oil laws and thereby position Petrobras ideally to busy itself developing Brazil's huge offshore reserves.
The bill will trade oil rights in the government's hands for Petrobras shares. The share sale is expected to be worth up to $60 billion, making it one of the largest public offerings in history. The deal will go a long way toward funding Petrobras's plans, which have the company coughing up as much as $220 billion in between now and 2014.
But rather than its July target for the deal, it now appears that it'll take place in September. The holdup involves receipt by the National Petroleum Agency of an independent certification of the volume of the government-held oil reserves.
Meanwhile, despite the Gulf of Mexico oil spill involving BP
However, concern about depths doesn't seem to be slowing the company down. In June, alone it's found a reservoir of oil nearly three miles below the floor of the South Atlantic and holding approximately 380 million barrels. In fact, Petrobras ranks above the likes of Shell
In fact, in something of a perverse way, Petrobras could be a beneficiary of the BP spill: Should the administration succeed in invoking a drilling moratorium in the Gulf, many of the deepwater rigs will boogey for Brazil, precisely where the underserved state oil company needs them.
In the meantime, I'm urging Foolish energy investors to keep an eye on this busy company, at whatever water depth you find it.
Petrobras and Total are both Motley Fool Income Investor selections. Feel free to acquaint yourself with any of our newsletters ... also free for 30 days.