ANP: Brazil to Hold First Pre-Salt Oil Auction Oct. 22

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil will hold its first auction of pre-salt oil and natural gas exploration acreage Oct. 22, a director of the country's National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, said Tuesday.

Brazil, however, has not yet fixed the signing bonus oil companies will pay at the auction, ANP Director Helder Queiroz said. The signing bonus could be "a little more or a little less" than the 10 billion Brazilian reais figure bandied about by market analysts and press reports, Mr. Queiroz added.

The country wants the signing bonus low enough to keep competition at the auction high, but high enough to ensure that the biggest and most-qualified oil companies are involved, Mr. Queiroz said.

The first auction under Brazil's new production-sharing regime will offer the Libra prospect, which ANP estimates holds recoverable reserves of between 8 billion and 12 billion barrels of crude oil. The winning bidder will be the oil company or consortium of firms that offers the largest volume of oil back to the government.

The ANP expects to have the initial auction tender and production-sharing contract ready in the second half of June, Mr. Queiroz said.


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