Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, ANP, said that it had to withdraw one block from next June's oil and gas exploration and production licensing round due to legal problems. Nevertheless, officials still hoped to resolve the problems, re-include that block and offer 55 areas, or blocks, for exploration in the fourth round, as initially planned. That is two more areas than last June. "I am pretty sure we can make it," said Sonya da Silva, the ANP prosecutor, explaining that the BM-CAL-7 area had been relinquished by its operators, which included Petrobras, after they failed to inform the ANP of any discoveries there. The operators, however, now claim they had had found natural gas in the block before the end of the exploration phase, and want an extension of the period. The ANP said they had won a court case, but the agency hoped to overrule it.
The ANP will offer 40 offshore blocks and 15 onshore areas in 19 basins across Brazil in June. Eighteen offshore areas are in the deep or ultra-deep waters, some at a depth of more than 6,600 feet (2,000 meters). Six onshore areas and two maritime areas are situated at new, little studied, frontiers.