Brazil Oil Regulator Excludes Disputed Block from November Auction

RIO DE JANEIRO Sep 18, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, has decided to exclude a disputed oil block from an oil and gas block auction in November, the agency said Monday night.

Brazil's state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), or Petrobras, claims the rights to the C-M-273 block in the Campos Basin for which it won a concession in 1998. But the ANP earlier this year said the company had to return the block to the government, since it had passed a deadline to declare any commercially viable oil finds there.

The ANP Monday said it excluded the block from the auction in order to avoid judicial action that could suspend it. Court injunctions last year had suspended the government's annual oil and gas block auction.

Petrobras on Friday had said it went to court against the ANP to keep the C-M-273 block.

Despite the exclusion of the block from the upcoming auction, the ANP insists that Petrobras was nine days too late in telling the agency it found oil there.

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