The J&F Group, Brazil's largest private group, led by businessmen Joesley and Wesley Batista, announced its entry into the oil and gas industry with a two-pronged operation involving oil fields in Argentina.
The group bought the Brazilian company Fluxus, which had been created earlier this year by Brazilian entrepreneurs to invest in the sector in their country and Latin America. And their first step is being taken with the acquisition of Pluspetrol fields in Vaca Muerta and Salta.
Fluxus will purchase all of Block 1, Block 2 and Center Block of the Centenario field, located in Neuquén province, as well as 33% of the Ramos field, in Salta province, both operated by Pluspetrol.
The closing of the transaction, which is subject to certain conditions and authorizations, will be in 2024 and, upon completion, Fluxus will assume the role of operator in both fields.
Combined, the two operations in Argentina have a current daily production of 9,325 barrels of oil equivalent for the Fluxus stake, which includes 1.3 million cubic meters of gas and 1,365 barrels of oil per day.
Fluxus' former founders — Ricardo Savini, Jorge Lorenzón and Vitor Abreu — will continue to play key roles in the company's leadership, J&F said in a statement. They have decades of experience in the sector, in companies such as Petrobras, Exxon Mobil, Pérez Companc and YPF.
Savini will remain as CEO. Prior to Fluxus, he founded and was president of 3R Petroleum, a company listed on the Brazilian Stock Exchange.
Fluxus will be the J&F Group's investment platform in the hydrocarbons sector in Latin America. "We are very optimistic about the opportunities the region presents in oil, gas and energy. After this first deal in Argentina, we are analyzing investments in Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela, among other countries," said Savini.
Who are the Batista brothers?
Brothers Joesley, 51, and Wesley Batista, 53, grew the family fortune created by the global expansion of the JBS meatpacking plant and diversified. They own one of the largest pulp producers in the world (Eldorado Brasil) and have assets in energy (Âmbar), mining (J&F Mineração), financial services (Picpay), hygiene and cosmetics (Flora) and communication (Canal Rural)
The company's main asset is its 49% stake in JBS, which is worth about $4.100 billion. This company had a foray into Argentina, but it came out in the midst of the Lava Jato scandal.
The Batista surname became better known about six years ago in the midst of the corruption scandals of the Lava Jato operation, in which they confessed to having paid bribes. The brothers were imprisoned for six months and were removed from the day-to-day running of the company at that time.
Although Wesley and Joesley are now free to return to an executive position at JBS, they are keeping a low profile and continuing to diversify.