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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Mines and Energy Minister of brazil, Fernando Bezerra Coelho, announced on Thursday that the federal government will be auctioning off old onshore petroleum fields in February of 2017 and a pre-salt auction by June of 2017.

Brazil, Mines and Energy Minister, Fernando Bezerra Coelho announces auction of onshore and pre-salt oil fields for 2017
Mines and Energy Minister, Fernando Bezerra Coelho announces auction of onshore and pre-salt oil fields for 2017, photo by Geraldo Magella/Agencia Senado.

“We are working so that the first auction will be held in February and the others in the middle of the semester,” the minister told reporters in Rio de Janeiro.

According to Bezerra Coelho the pre-salt auction should offer four areas adjacent to fields which are already being explored and whose reserves go beyond the concession areas in Campos Basin (Rio de Janeiro) and Santos Basin (São Paulo).

Although the minister declined to forecast values to be reached in these auctions he noted that the auctions mean future investments. “More important than the auction values are the values that come after [auction]. We are talking about billions and billions [of Brazilian reais] in job creation, income, construction, equipment and services,” stated Bezerra Coelho.

This will be the second auction of the pre-salt areas, after the Libra auction, which occurred in 2013. Last year Petrobras announced a bold restructuring plan which called for the sale of assets and concessions so as to improve the company’s economic situation.

Last month, Brazil’s state-owned petroleum company, Petrobras, released its Q2 results, showing net earnings of R$370 million, compared with losses of R$1.2 billion in Q1.

According to officials the positive results were due to a thirty percent reduction in net financial expenses, including an aggressive program to encourage voluntary dismissal from the company (PIDV).

Also a seven percent growth in total oil and natural gas production, a fourteen percent rise in exports of oil and oil products, and a reduction in costs of importing natural gas.

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