ANP: Brazil's Round 8 to Include New Santos, Campos Areas

Brazil's national hydrocarbon regulator ANP is preparing to offer new areas in the Santos and Campos offshore basins in the 8th hydrocarbons licensing round in 2006, ANP director John Forman told BNamericas at the IBC/BNamericas Energy Integration Congress in Santiago, Chile.

Aside from these areas, the tender will be very similar to the 7th licensing round that was held in Rio de Janeiro on October 17-19. "We will repeat the more or less what we offered in round 7," Forman said.

The ANP awarded 251 of the 1,134 exploration blocks offered in the 7th hydrocarbon licensing round, raising 1.09bn reais (US$482mn) in signing fees. Of these fees, about 500mn reais came from blocks in the Santos basin, 300mn reais from the Campos basin and some 150mn reais from the Espírito Santo basin, Forman said.

Other blocks offered in 11 lesser-known basins attracted less interest but the ANP will continue to offer blocks in these basins. It also wants to include new ones such as the Pernambuco-Paraìba basins, one of the few where ANP has commissioned preliminary geological studies, he said.

"ANP's role is to show the companies the possibility of finding oil, showing whether there are geological profiles compatible with the discovery of oil," Forman said. "The challenge is to collect data in new frontiers and we have 96% of the country to study."

ANP has been lobbying the federal government to free up budget money that should be allocated to preliminary geological research but which is being withheld because of the government fiscal control policies.

According to ANP officials, as much as 99% of the 1.9bn-real research budget raised from royalties and special contributions is being withheld by the federal government. ANP claims it has only enough data to run one more licensing round.

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