ANP Restricts Bids in Round 8 to Increase Competition

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Brazil's hydrocarbons regulator ANP has restricted the number of blocks for which a company can bid in the eighth exploration licensing round scheduled for November 28-29.

The restriction is designed to increase the number of competing companies, an ANP spokesperson told BNamericas, confirming local press reports.

According to draft bidding rules, a company cannot bid for different blocks in the same session, even if that company forms groups with other bidders.

The decision comes after the national energy planning council CNPE said that 284 blocks in seven different basins will be offered at the licensing round this year.

Large oil companies such a federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) often bid for blocks close to strategic areas in order to block out competition.

Petrobras will likely question the rule, news service Agencia Estado reported.

In 2005, when the government offered more than 1,100 blocks, no such restrictions in bidding existed.

According to ANP's schedule, data packages for the 284 blocks are available this week, with access costs varying from 15,000 reais (US$7,000) to as much as 150,000 reais.

ANP plans to publish final tender rules and concession contracts by October 13.

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