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Kyodo News Service: (Kyodo) - Brazil's state-run oil monopoly Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) has taken a major step toward its strategic goal of achieving leadership in the energy sector in Latin America.”: “The oil corporation has signed three share purchase agreements for the acquisition of Shell's businesses in Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay.”: Wednesday Dec 28, 2005


The oil corporation has signed three share purchase agreements for the acquisition of Shell's businesses in Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay.


The transaction is part of the world's 15th largest oil company's move to expand its operations in order to become an international energy company and the leader in Latin America.


The $140 million business deal that Petrobras announced earlier this month involves all of Shell's operations in Paraguay and Uruguay and its retail and commercial operations in Colombia.


The final value of the transaction will be determined in the handover of the assets to Petrobras during the year of 2006, the company said in a statement.


Petrobras noted that the acquisitions in the three countries are still subject to the relevant government approvals.


The deals in the three countries encompass 261 service stations, a lubricant blending plant, a basic products terminal and installations for the commercialization of aviation fuel, according to Petrobras.


The completion of this operation is in line with the objectives stipulated in the company's strategic plan for the consolidation of Petrobras as an integrated energy company with strong international presence and leadership in Latin America, the company said.


The oil company's operations will encompass 15 countries, most of them in the Americas, after the purchase agreements. In South America, only Chile, Guyana and French Guiana are excluded from its operations.


According to the company's consolidated financial report for the January-September 2005 period, Petrobras logged net profits equivalent to $6.69 billion, up 23 percent from the same period in 2004.


Its oil exports also grew 27 percent in the first three quarters of 2005 from a year earlier.


On the New York Stock Exchange, the value of the company's common and preferred ADRs soared 79.7 percent and 76.1 percent, respectively, during the January-September period.


The company's market value reached $72.10 billion on Sept. 30, up 54 percent from a year before.


In line with its overseas expansion strategy, Petrobras is incorporating Brazil-Japan Ethanol Co. in Japan to import ethanol produced from sugarcane in Brazil and distribute it in Japan.


In parallel with overseas expansion, Petrobras has been posting oil output records on the domestic front and is close to making Brazil self-sufficient in this area.


It reported a record daily output of crude oil of 1.85 million barrels on Dec. 19, 24.4 percent above the average daily 1.49 million barrels produced in 2004.


"This was yet another decisive step toward the sought-after and increasingly close self-sufficiency, which is slated to be reached, in a sustainable manner, as of the first quarter of 2006," the company said.


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