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Oil Majors Scoop Up Very-Hot Blocks In Record Brazil Auction

ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, and Total all won oil exploration blocks offshore Brazil in the first of three bidding rounds this year which fetched a record total amount of signing bonuses.

The 16th oil concession bidding round held on Thursday raised a total of US$2.17 billion (8.9 billion Brazilian reais) in signing bonuses, a record for the concession rounds in Brazil, oil regulator ANP said in a statement.

The regulator expects the bidding round to result in investments of at least US$385 million (1.58 billion reais) only in the first, exploration, phase of development.

According to the results of the biding round that the Brazilian oil regulator released after the auction today, Total, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Petrobras, Petronas, and Repsol won blocks as operators in the Campos basin. Shell won two blocks as operator in the basin, leading consortia consisting of QPI Brasil and Chevron. Repsol also won two blocks—one by itself and another in a partnership with Chevron.

Apart from minority interest holder in blocks to be operated by Shell and Repsol, Chevron won a block as operator in a consortium in the Campos basin, and another block in the Santos basin. Only two blocks in the Santos basin received bids, and one went to Chevron which will operate it in a consortium, while the other was snagged by BP.

Twelve of the 36 offshore blocks were awarded, Brazil’s oil regulator said, noting that eleven companies from nine countries had made offers, and ten of those acquired blocks.

The highest bid in the auction was made for block C-M-541 in the Campos basin by the winning consortium of Total, Petronas, and QPI Brasil—they bid US$1.05 billion (4.3 billion reais)—the highest signing bonus ever paid for a block in the concession rounds, the regulator said.

Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said that the positive auction today signals that the other two bidding rounds would also be successful. Brazil will hold in November the so-called transfer of rights auction, its newest oil auction, which has attracted the interest of Big Oil, as well as the 6th round in the pre-salt area.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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