By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The government of Brazil is hailing last week’s oil field exploration auction as a sign that foreign and Brazilian investors alike are regaining confidence in the country and its economy, and looking for opportunities to invest.

Brazil,ANP's Decio Addone speaks at the 14th ANP Bidding Round,
ANP’s Decio Addone speaks at the 14th ANP Bidding Round, photo courtesy of ANP.

The 14th round of bidding offered 287 blocks in 29 sectors of the country’s nine basins, with the government obtaining more than US$1.2 billion in the 37 blocks auctioned off.

Calling it ‘a historic day to the oil and gas sector in Brazil’ ANP Director General, Décio Oddone told reporters that the auction was a preview of the auction scheduled for October, where pre-salt fields will be offered. “This bidding round marks a new beginning of investments, after the biggest crisis this sector had ever experienced in Brazil.”

In total, twenty companies from eight countries participated in the bid. Ten Brazilian companies and seven foreign firms obtained the offered blocks. One of the most talked about bids was the one made by ExxonMobile, which along with Petrobras, offered the largest bonus of the auction for a block at the Campos Basin, R$2.24 billion.

“In this auction, the big star was not Petrobras, but the return of ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, which has had practically no oil exploration investment in Brazil until now,” Adriano Pires, partner-director of the Brazilian Infrastructure Center (CBIE) was quoted by G1 as saying.

According to Pires last week’s auction was a preview of the upcoming auctions. “I think today’s auction was an appetizer and that the pre-salt will be much more competitive. The other major oil companies such as Shell, Repsol and BP realized today that ExxonMobil has returned to Brazil for real and to gain pre- salt will have to be more daring,” he said.

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