Petrobras Believes Transocean Ban Will Be Lifted

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian state-run energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, believes that driller Transocean Ltd. and local regulators will be able to convince judges to lift Transocean's operating ban.

Brazil's Supreme Court recently upheld an injunction banning Transocean from operating in Brazil, but Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, is appealing the ruling.

"We believe that the actions taken by the ANP and Transocean will result in an adequate evaluation of the issue" by the Brazilian courts, Carlos Tadeu Fraga, Petrobras's executive manager for pre-salt exploration and production, said Wednesday.

Transocean operates 10 drilling rigs in Brazil, with eight working for Petrobras. Two of the rigs are drilling in the deep-water region known as the pre-salt, Mr. Fraga said. The injunction has raised concerns that it could affect the company's production goals should the operating ban be upheld.

Mr. Fraga also said that Petrobras was "prepared to compete" in the 11th-round auction of oil and natural gas concessions announced by the government Tuesday. "The areas on offer will be the objective of the entire industry," Mr. Fraga said.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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