Several Companies Claim Blocks in Brazil's Licensing Round

A group led by Devon Energy has acquired two blocks in the Campos basin area on the first day of Brazil's licensing round, paying the highest price so far in the auction.

The consortium which includes EnCana, Kerr-McGee, and SK Corp. paid 50 million reais ($16.6 million) for one of the most expensive blocks on offer -- the C-M-101, for which the minimum price was 23 million reais.

"We already have one Campos block and we are drilling a second well there now. Now, we've won two more blocks to the south of the basin and our preliminary evaluations are good," Devon Energy do Brasil president Murilo Marroquim said.

The Devon-led group also beat Petrobras acting in consortium with Repsol to snag the C-M-61 block for 28.5 million reais. EnCana did not participate in that bid.

Petrobras and Shell together won two block in the Campos areas. Petrobras will be the operator in both cases. The consortium paid 19 million reais for the C-M-103 block and 34 million for the C-M-151. Also on Tuesday, Statoil and Petrobras bought seven blocks in the Camamu-Almada basin, close to the areas already developed by Petrobras.

The consortium paid 3.6 million reais ($1.2 million) for the CAL-M-60 block, well above the minimum price of 700,000 reais. The block will be operated by Statoil, which has a 60 percent stake in the consortium.

Statoil on its own also bought the rights for the CAL-M-122 block for 700,137 reais, while Petrobras paid 2.3 million reais for CAL-M-188.

Twenty-four oil companies are taking part in the auction. This is double the participants from last year. The auction will offer a total of 914 blocks.