The decision obliges Petrobras to present all the documentation and guarantees signed with Forbes & Manhattan Resources Inc. (F&M) in connection with the sale of the shale industrialization unit (Paraná Xisto S/A, SIX) to the Canadian group.
According to the Unitary Federation of Petroleum Workers (FUP), this decision is a further step towards the possible cancellation of the privatization of SIX.
Recourse to annul the privatization
The class action lawsuit was filed on the 14th against Petrobras, F&M Brazil and the federal government requesting the cancellation of the sale of the company. According to the FUP, F&M violated the contractual clauses by not paying the public company for the services provided in the TSA (temporary administrative support and technical support for the operation of the refinery) at SIX, a unit located in São Mateus do Sul, Paraná.
Among the documents requested by the judge are the Forbes and Manhattan credit assessment signed as part of the SIX privatization process which attests to the ability of the acquiring company to fulfill its contractual obligations; contracts between Petrobras and F&M involving warranties of contract compliance; and the Agreement for the Purchase and Sale of Shares and Other Commitments (CCVA) and its respective amendment.
“These measures represent an important step forward in the fight against the privatization of SIX”, declares lawyer Ângelo Remédio, from the Garcez firm, which represents parliamentarians for public action.
He explained that with the analysis of these documents, it will be possible to verify, among other things, whether the buyer has legal, financial and operational guarantees to take over SIX. “Based on the analysis of the contracts, any inconsistencies can be taken to court,” Remedio said.
SIX was privatized at the end of the Bolsonaro government
This collective action is in addition to other processes and initiatives adopted by the FUP, Anapetro (an association that represents oil workers who are minority shareholders of Petrobras) and the Oil Workers’ Union (Sindipetro PR/SC), which are challenging irregularities in the sale of the Paraná refinery, in the production and exploration of shale, and environmental issues.
SIX was privatized in November 2022, when the lights of the Bolsonaro government went out, bought by the Canadian group. According to the contract, Petrobras would continue to manage the unit until the newly formed company (Paraná Xisto) could operate on its own. Meanwhile, Petrobras would be paid for its work.
Despite several pending lawsuits, the state-owned company’s board of directors announced the completion of the sale in November last year. The deal included Petrosix, a technology developed and patented by the Brazilian company.
SIX was sold for US$41.6 million (about R$210 million at the time). The value is slightly higher than the profit recorded by SIX last year (about 200 million reais).
The sale value is less than the payment that Petrobras will make to the ANP
The value of the sale is not even half of what Petrobras will pay under the agreement with the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) to settle debts related to the non-payment of royalties on the exploitation of shale between 2002 and 2012. The company agreed to pay R$564 million.
F&M Brazil failed to pay an estimated BRL 140 million to Petrobras, leading the state-owned company to suspend TSA contract activities. Petrobras resumed temporary administrative and technical assistance services on Friday evening (14), “after the fulfillment of the contractual obligations assumed in a contract signed in November 2022, with the agreement of Forbes Resources Brazil Holding S/A, acquirer of Paraná Xisto S/A”, indicates a note from the Brazilian company.
“Even during the suspension period, Petrobras has maintained all the measures under its responsibility to guarantee the maximum safety of the people and the facilities in which it operates in São Mateus do Sul,” the note concludes.
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