(Corrects company names and typographical errors due to
spellcheck error, thoughout)
BRASILIA, March 17 Brazil's state-run oil
company Petrobras has asked the Supreme Court to lift an
injunction obtained by an oil workers' union that froze sales of
its assets, including its fuels distribution unit, a court
official said on Friday.
Petrobras filed the request on Thursday in a bid to lift the
injunction that blocked a divestment plan crucial to the full
recovery of the company's finances by lowering its debt load.
A regional oil workers' union told Reuters on Thursday that
an injunction continues to prevent sales of Petrobras assets
despite an audit court ruling allowing sales to go ahead.
Besides holding up the sale of BR Distribuidora, the
injunction issued in November forced Petrobras to suspend talks
with Karoon Gas Australia Ltd on the sale of its 45,000
barrels-per-day Bauna field in the Santos Basin, and a 50
percent interest in Tartaruga Verde in the Campos Basin.
Sales of inland oil fields in the states of Ceará, Rio
Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Bahia and Espírito Santo were also
Brazil's federal audit court TCU on Wednesday allowed
Petroleo Brasileiro SA to proceed with its divestment
program, but required the company to restart the processes in
all but two projects.
The TCU ruling overturned an injunction that suspended sales
in December and will allow Petrobras to proceed with the sale of
a controlling stake in BR Distribuidora.
However, Raquel Sousa, the lawyer for the Sindipetro-AL/SE
union, said the union's injunction obtained in the state of
Sergipe remained in effect.
"BR Distribuidora still cannot be sold. The TCU ruling does
not overrule the previous judicial decision," she told Reuters.
"The National Oil Workers Federation's fight against the
sale of Petrobras assets continues," Sousa said.
Petrobras did not respond to requests for comment.
Karoon said in a statement that it understood that the TCU
decision was "separate and distinct" from the Sergipe court
proceedings against Petrobras, and that the oil company was
continuing with legal action to have the injunction lifted.
(Writing by Anthony Boadle and Marta Nogueira; Editing by Tom