(EnergyAsia, August 21 2013, Wednesday) — Petroleo Brasileiro or Petrobras said it has agreed to sell US$2.1 billion worth of oil and petrochemical assets, the bulk to China’s Sinochem Group, to lighten up its debt burden to fund a massive investment programme through 2017.

Sinochem Group will pay US$1.54 billion for the Brazilian state firm’s 35% stake in the offshore Block BC-10 or Parque das Conchas project that includes the light oil-producing Ostra field.

Located in the Campos Basin about 100 km off the southern coast of Espírito Santo state, the project is operated by Shell with a 50% stake, with Indian upstream firm ONGC holding the remaining 15%. The two companies have preemptive right to the Petrobras stake within 30 days of notification.

The proposed sale must also be approved by Brazil’s antitrust authority, and China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Petrobras said it is also selling off minority stakes in Gulf of Mexico oil fields for a total of US$185 million, and stakes in a petrochemical company and a power company to invest US$47 billion a year in upstream oil and gas projects in Brazil through 2017.