Although private and foreign oil companies have shown interest in bidding in this year's round, a decision by national energy planning council CNPE to bring the round forward to end-August from end-November has drawn protest.
Companies say there is not enough time to study the data in enough detail to prepare bids, consultants told BNamericas.
"They managed to take a decision that displeased everybody," independent oil consultant Giuseppe Baccoccoli told BNamericas. "Oil companies work on tightly administered agendas, focusing on one round after another."
Another consultant, who did not want to be named, said this could reduce the presence of private and foreign companies in the bid and increase the weight of federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) even more in Brazil's oil sector.
In 2005's round 7, ANP offered 1,134 blocks, of which 251 were awarded to 41 companies. Initially 116 companies registered and 85 made bids, including offers for mature areas offered at the same time.
Oil institute IBP, an industry group for oil companies and equipment suppliers, has started talks with the government and ANP to guarantee the presence of the largest number possible of companies in the tender, an IBP spokesperson told BNamericas.
"We don't know what kind of schedule is the best," the spokesperson said. "But two months is not enough to study the data."
FOCUS ON HIGH POTENTIAL
The blocks are located in the 18 sedimentary basins throughout the country and are divided according to their potential and risk. CNPE also determined ANP should also seek to include areas with a high likelihood of containing gas.
ANP plans to offer 105 blocks in high potential offshore areas, 166 blocks in new frontier onshore areas, 477 blocks in new frontier offshore blocks and 405 blocks in mature onshore areas.
ANP will offer 335 offshore blocks in the Santos basin and 100 offshore blocks in the Campos basin, which at the same time are considered to be high potential and new frontier areas.
The mature Potiguar basin is the location of 167 of the 571 onshore blocks that will be offered. Another 122 onshore blocks will be offered in the mature Sergipe-Alagoas basin.
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