By Lucy Jordan, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s 11th oil and gas auction, held Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro, raised a record R$2.8 billion, the industry’s regulatory agency said, with Petrobras winning the most blocks, and oil giants, BP, Total, Chevron and ExxonMobil also gaining rights to explore new areas.

Record Spending at 11th Oil Round - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
An oil platform at Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro state, photo by Ruy Gatto/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

The result exceeded the goal of R$2 billion set by Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) president, Magda Chambriard. “We are extremely pleased with the results, which surpassed all expectations,” Chambriard reportedly said.

“142 of 289 blocks offered were auctioned, which will ensure minimal investments in the exploration phase of R$7 billion – in this case a premium of 628 percent over the minimum stipulated by the agency. All records of previous rounds were broken.”

The hotly anticipated bidding round – Brazil’s first for five years – offered blocks in Brazil’s equatorial margin. Although there is no guarantee that oil or gas will be produced from these blocks, there is excitement about the region, as it is geographically similar to equatorial areas of Africa that have proved fruitful.

Of the 289 blocks on offer, 142 were sold, or 100,300 km2 of 155,800 km2 offered, with oil companies offering as much as 40 times the minimum bid required.

A total of 39 companies from twelve countries participated, of which thirty won blocks. Out of these thirty winners, twelve were domestic companies and eighteen foreign, including two firms from the United States (Chevron and ExxonMobil), three British firms, four Canadian and one Norwegian.

Petrobras bought, either on its own or in partnerships, rights to 34 of the 289 blocks in the Foz do Amazonas, Espírito Santo, Parnaíba and Barreirinhas Basins, for R$539.9 million.

BG Group paid R$415.5 million for ten blocks and OGX, the oil and gas arm of Eike Batista’s EBX conglomerate, paid R$376 million for thirteen.

OGX’s substantial outlay was a surprise to many observers, as the company has been struggling financially since its only producing well, in the Turbarão Azul field in the Campos Basin, generated disappointing results last year.

France’s Total won ten blocks for R$371.9 million, and BP committed R$261.3 millon for eight.

Brazil’s pre-salt region, which is thought to hold as much as 35 billion barrels of recoverable oil, will be auctioned in a separate November auction. A third bidding round will be held in December for unconventional gas deposits like shale.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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