Image courtesy of Petrobras/Facebook.

Brazilian legislators are considering a bill that would open up the country’s offshore pre-saltt plays to foreign and private investment.

The bill would allow companies other than state owned Petrobras to operate the country’s sizable pre-salt reserves, the Financial Times said.

Under Brazilian law, Petrobras must operate the pre-salt fields and also hold at least a 30 percent stake.

The new rule could be approved as early as September.

“This bill, once passed, will improve Petrobras’ financial performance. At the same time, it will accelerate the development of the pre-salt, which has been in semi-stagnation in recent years,” Brazilian senator José Serra, a member of the centrist opposition PSDB party, told the Financial Times.

While foreign companies are currently permitted to financially back projects in offshore Brazil they are prohibited from operating the projects.

Petrobras has had a string of finds in Brazil’s offshore pre-salt play but the company’s success has been marred by an ongoing corruption scandal and financial woes.

Earlier this year, Petrobras said its pre-salt projects will continue to be viable even if global oil prices drop to $45 per barrel.

The debt plagued company will slash spending by 37 percent through the next four years in an effort to tame its enormous $110 billion debt.

Petrobras now expects to produce an average of 2.8 million barrels a day by 2020, a huge slid from the company’s previous 4.2 million barrel per day target, Bloomberg Business said.

The company has also been rocked by a corruption scandal that has landed several executives in jail and prompted the resignation of former CEO Maria das Graças Silva Foster.

Petrobras is currently the most indebted oil and gas company in the world with about $110 billion in net debt.


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