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Brazil's $50 Billion Oil Boom Is Falling Apart

Exxon may not be interested in stepping up to the bidding plate at Brazil’s massive $50 billion transfer of rights auction next week, because the oilfields up for grabs come with a hefty price tag, Exxon’s president of exploration, Stephen Greenlee said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Exxon, Greenlee explained, already holds licenses offshore Brazil, but when it bought those rights, the assets were far less expensive than what the Buzios oilfield is expected to go for this time around.

“Whether or not we participate, it would be wrapped up in how we would see that opportunity versus all the other investment options, because there are a lot of investment options out there right now,” Greenlee said, adding that Exxon wasn’t the only oil company with reservations about the high price tag.

Already Total SA, Repsol, and BP Plc have said they are not interested.

No doubt, Brazil’s auction is offering as close to a sure thing as you can get—but oil companies are worried that the high price tag of the rights would eat into any profits, shrinking it to less attractive levels.

Related: Protect The Oil: Trump’s Top Priority In The Middle East

For Exxon, who has gone gangbusters into Guyana, Brazil is not the last frontier. But it is not definitively bowing out of Brazil. Exxon will consider the opportunity, weighing it against available opportunities in US shale and LNG projects.

Brazil’s transfer of rights auction is scheduled to take place on November 6. Petroleo Brasileiro SA is intending to “bid to win” Buzios, which has been hailed by Exxon as the “largest and most prolific” deepwater discovery ever.

Next door to Brazil, ExxonMobil is currently pushing ahead with Hess on its Guyana Liza Phase 1 discovery, with hopes of achieving first producing there by December. The US oil major is also looking to increase its oil production in the Permian to 1 million bpd by 2024.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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