As many as 17 companies have registered to bid next month in two rounds of exploration license awards in Brazil’s pre-salt layer, Brazilian Oil and Gas Secretary Marcio Felix said on the sidelines of an event on Thursday.
Brazil is eager to award new exploration licenses in the most promising blocks in its pre-salt layer as it tries to boost its economy and attract more foreign investment.
Before Felix gave the exact number of the different bidders in the two rounds, the country’s oil and gas regulator ANP had previously said that 10 firms had expressed interest to take part in the second round, with 15 companies registering to bid in the third round. Now the exact number is known—17—and all are major oil firms, Reuters quoted Felix as saying.
Interest in pre-salt areas by majors has grown since Brazil removed in October last year the requirement by law that Brazilian state oil firm Petrobras must be a participating partner in all pre-salt blocks.
Now the 17 companies that have registered to bid will do so on October 27 on eight blocks in the Santos and Campos basins, which are considered one of the most promising developments offshore Brazil.
According to Petrobras chief executive Pedro Parente, oil is being extracted from the pre-salt offshore wells at the cost of just US$8 per barrel—an attractive figure that is piquing the interest of major foreign players.
Apart from the two rounds next month, Brazil will put up for bidding next year exploration licenses for oil reserves in the so-called Transfer of Rights area in the pre-salt layers, Reuters quoted Felix as saying in Rio. Currently, Petrobras operates the Transfer of Rights area, in which it has rights on 5 billion barrels of oil. According to government estimates, there could be at least another 10 billion barrels more in the area, Felix noted.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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