By Gram Slattery
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm EIG Global Energy Partners submitted a binding offer worth several hundred million dollars on Monday for Petrobras’ TBG and TSB natural gas pipelines in Brazil, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Brazil’s state-run oil company is formally known, put its stakes in the 2,593-km (1,611-mile) TBG pipeline – carrying natural gas from Bolivia – and the far southern TSB pipeline up for sale in December.
Reuters reported in May that Washington-based EIG submitted a non-binding offer for the assets in a consortium with Fluxys Belgium NV and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.
However, EIG made its binding offer alone, said the source, who requested anonymity as the matter was confidential. The firm remains in discussions with Enbridge and Fluxys about a potential partnership investing in and operating the asset, should EIG’s bid prove successful, the source added.
It was not immediately clear if there were competing offers.
EIG, Enbridge and Fluxys declined to comment. Petrobras did not respond to a request for comment.
The TBG/TSB sale would mark a significant step forward in the ongoing drive at Petrobras to divest non-core assets in order to reduce its debt load and sharpen its focus on deepwater oil production.
Petrobras has already sold its stake in the TAG and NTS gas pipeline units to consortia led by Engie SA and Brookfield Asset Management Inc, respectively.
The firm sold its 90% stake in TAG for $8.6 billion in 2019. However, TBG and TSB are smaller assets, with combined transport capacity slightly below half that of TAG, according to documents released by Petrobras, which has a 51% stake in TBG and 25% of TSB.
TBG, formally Transportadora Brasileira Gasoduto Bolivia-Brasil, manages the Brazilian side of the pipeline known as the Gasbol. TBG passes through five southern states, including Sao Paulo, the wealthiest and most populous.
TSB, formally Transportadora Sulbrasileira de Gas, is a much smaller asset managing two pipelines in Rio Grande do Sul, which borders Argentina and Uruguay.
(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)