The 43 companies submitted required documents by the deadline, seeking qualification to bid in the November 28-29 auction.
"The eighth round has options to fit all kinds of companies," Narciso said during a meeting with Sao Paulo state industry leaders.
By comparison the seventh licensing round attracted 53 companies that wanted to bid for 1,134 blocks, not including offers for marginal fields.
Roughly one quarter of the companies for the November round have shown interest in the 79 blocks that ANP plans to offer in the Santos basin, said Narciso. In total the regulator is offering 284 exploration blocks.
ANP is studying the documentation submitted by the 43 companies. Firms must pay participation fees by November 11 and confirm their presence at the auction by depositing guarantees by November 21.
Narciso did not detail how many of the 43 companies are Brazilian, saying only that there is at least one potentially new local entrant in the oil sector plus possible new entrants from India, China, Turkey, Venezuela and Colombia.
Brazil's federal power company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) over the years has signed cooperation agreements with Chinese and Turkish companies and India's ONGC.
BNamericas reported in September that Colombia's state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol was interested in the eighth round.
The areas offered in round eight are considered to have a high likelihood of containing natural gas or light crude. The blocks have a combined 101,500 sq km and are located in seven different basins ranging from onshore to deepwater blocks. They have been divided into mature, high potential and new frontier blocks.
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