Newfield to Pull Out of Brazil by Year-End

US independent oil company Newfield Exploration (NYSE: NFX) expects to wind down operations in Brazil by year-end, company spokesperson Keith Schmidt told BNamericas.

"We are not a large company and decided on the redeployment of assets," he said. The company will now focus its international operations in Malaysia and China.

Newfield started investing in Brazil in 2002, when it paid some US$500mn in entrance fees to explore the BM-ES-20 block in Espirito Santo state. In 2003, the company acquired exploration rights in another two offshore blocks in the Santos basin.

The decision to end operations in Brazil follows Newfield's unsuccessful attempt to obtain an environmental license for seismic and drilling operations at BM-ES-20.

Federal environmental protection agency Ibama last year deemed the block's exploration activities environmentally unfeasible, saying the block was too close to a marine wildlife reserve in Bahia state.

The BMES-20 concession was later cancelled and the government is unlikely to offer concessions in areas close to the park again.

Schmidt did not say what would be done with its two Santos basin blocks.

Many industry experts complain Brazil's licensing procedures are slow and unpredictable.

Newfield is one of the 56 companies listed by national hydrocarbons regulator ANP as operating in Brazil.

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