Karoon Energy eyes Brazil acquisitions despite export tax -CEO

April 14, 2023 06:54 AM AEST | By Reuters
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By Marta Nogueira

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 13 (Reuters) - Australia's Karoon Energy Ltd remains on the lookout for acquisition targets in Brazil, despite the view that the country has lost competitiveness with a temporary oil export tax, Chief Executive Julian Fowles told Reuters on Thursday.

The executive noted the Brazilian market has fewer oilfields available for acquisition after the government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva halted state-run oil firm Petrobras' divestiture program, but Fowles said there are still deals worth consideration.

"So, yes, we talked to other companies about their potential projects and where we could participate.... I think we just have a different set of acquisition opportunities at the moment and who knows, in the future Petrobras will come back to the market."

The company's interest remains in oil assets in the Campos and Santos basins, he said.

The search for growth in Brazil comes despite concerns about the tax on oil exports suddenly created by the Brazilian government that went into force in March, scheduled to last four months, to compensate for a partial tax break on fuels.

Fowles pointed out that such moves could drive investment out of the country.

"It costs us additional money to pay an export tax, which moves Brazil's attractiveness down on the global competitiveness scale," he said.

"Stability is something we value highly," he added, saying he expects that the tax remains as a temporary measure.

In addition, Karoon is also studying acquisitions on the U.S. side of the Gulf of Mexico.

"We are talking to many companies there, to see if there are opportunities that meet Karoon's criteria, those criteria are really very simple: we would like to invest in additional oil production." (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Brad Haynes and Daniel Wallis)


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