Brazil to Hold 11th Oil Rights Sale May 14-15, Adds New Blocks

Source: Reuters 1/23/2012, Location: South America

Brazil plans to hold its 11th-round auction of oil and natural gas rights on May 14 and 15 in Rio de Janeiro, restarting sales of exploration and production leases for the first time in five years, the Energy Ministry said.

The government also plans to add 117 areas to the auction, bringing the total amount of blocks to be offered to 289, Marco Antonio Martins Almeida, the ministry's oil and gas secretary told reporters in Brasilia. Brazil's oil regulator, the ANP, will manage the sale.

The new areas will include on-shore blocks in the Tucano-Sul basin in the south coast of Brazil's northeastern Bahia state and in the Foz de Amazonas basin located offshore beyond the Amazon River delta, Martins said.

The government expects to raise as much as 10 billion reais ($4.9 billion) from the auction of 155,713 sq. kilometers (60,121 sq. miles) of leases, the ministry said. Winners will own oil produced in their areas in exchange for royalty payments to Brazilian governments.

Brazil also plans to hold its first-ever, production-sharing-rights auction for blocks in the country's offshore "subsalt polygon" on Nov. 28 and 29, Martins said.

Under production-sharing contracts, bidders will have to team up with state-led Petrobras, which will manage all operations and have a minimum 30 percent stake in all bidding groups. The government will also get a share of all output from blocks in the area, the size of the U.S. state of New York off the coast near Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

The country's first special auction for on shore shale oil and natural gas exploration rights is expected on Dec. 11 and 12, Martins added.

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