Petrobras sells stakes in offshore oilfields to France's Total

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) –


Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras said Wednesday it is selling stakes in two big offshore oilfields and two power plants to France's Total in a deal worth $2.2 billion.

The agreement comes under a previously announced asset sale aimed at raising billions of dollars for the indebted Brazilian group.

The transaction will see Total get pumping rights to significant parts of two deepwater, pre-salt oilfields off Brazil's southeastern coast whose discovery in 2007 was seen as a resource bonanza.

Total will pick up 25 percent of the Iara field and 35 percent of the Lapa one, which started operation on Tuesday.

The French company will also become 50-percent owner of the two thermal energy plants, Romulo de Almeida and Celso Furtado, in the northeastern state of Bahia.

The transaction comes at a time of relatively low prices for oil -- and amid a huge corruption scandal involving Petrobras that saw the company's rating downgraded and its debt pile become worrisome.