Brazil to Decide 10th Round of Oil E&P Auction Wednesday

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones Newswires), September 2, 2008

Brazil's National Energy Policy Board will decide on the 10th round of oil exploration and production concession auctions Wednesday, the president of the country's National Petroleum Agency said Tuesday.

Quoted by the local Estado news agency, ANP President Haroldo Lima said that if the auction is approved, details will be published by the government later this week, which would allow the auction to occur as early as November.

Lima, however, said delays could push the auction to late December. In that case, the ANP would push for the auction to take place in January.

In addition, the government board will also decide on how to proceed with a smaller exploration and production auction of mature fields with marginal oil and gas reserves.

According to Lima, the suspended eighth round of E&P concessions will not be discussed by the government panel until December. The auction includes pre-salt deposits.

"Because the auction includes pre-salt areas, we've opted to wait for the completion of analysis by the government commission," Lima said.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva created the commission to study possible changes to the country's oil legislation in light of the discovery of the nation's promising pre-salt oil deposits.

The commission is expected to present proposals to President Lula by the end of September.

"There still is no consensus. We are evaluating the proposals," Lima said.

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