ANP: Private Firms to Invest US$16.9bn Through 2010

Private oil companies are expected to invest US$16.9bn in Brazil through 2010, 25% of the total investments in the sector, news agency AE-Setorial quoted national hydrocarbons regulator ANP president Haroldo Lima as saying.

However, federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) will continue as the major investor in the Brazilian oil industry, pumping US$49.3bn into the business through 2010, Lima said.

According to Brazil's oil institute IBP, private investments in the next four years will be mainly for exploration and production (US$6.8bn) and petrochemicals (US$3.9bn).

The gas, electric power, refining and transport of derivatives sectors are expected to receive investments of some US$1.5bn each, IBP said.

In the E&P area, US$2.3bn will be invested in four new fields operated by private companies and US$1bn in the search for new reserves.

Lima made the comments at a ceremony to sign two contracts awarded in the seventh hydrocarbons bidding round last year.


Three local private oil firms - Petrolab, C Foster and Silver Marlin - have decided not to sign five exploration concessions obtained in the seventh bidding round and will lose their guarantees, AE-Setorial reported.

Petrolab decided not to sign a contract for the Gamboa field in the northeast state of Sergipe, C Foster will not sign for a marginal field in the Recôncavo basin and Silver Marlin has declined to sign for three blocks in the Espírito Santo basin, the news agency reported.

The main reason why the companies declined to sign contracts for these blocks is they decided to focus investments on other areas awarded in the bid round, ANP director John Forman said.

ANP will now offer the blocks to the runners-up in the bid round, Forman said.

Meanwhile, ANP is waiting for documentation to be submitted by another six companies by January 27 in order to sign new exploration concessions, Forman said.

"Problems with the Brazilian bureaucracy have delayed the plans of some foreign companies, which have to open a subsidiary here to be able to become active in the country," Forman said.

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