Brazil's Oil Bills May See Stamp of Approval by June

BRASILIA (Dow Jones), Feb. 11, 2010

Brazil's Congress will likely approve bills containing changes for the oil sector before legislators go into recess in June, lower house leader Candido Vaccarezza said Thursday, according to the Estado news agency.

Vaccarezza said the government hopes to begin introducing the bills for vote following Brazil's nationwide Carnaval holiday next week.

Vaccarezza said he expects the pace of voting in Congress to slow ahead of the country's general elections in October, but said he has already spoken with opposition party leaders in an effort to facilitate voting on noncontroversial matters.

The bills under consideration create a centralized fund for managing future oil revenues, create a special state company to oversee exploration and production activities, change rules for distribution of oil royalties among Brazilian states, and cede rights to state-controlled oil company Petrobras to 5 billion barrels of crude oil from subsalt reserves as part of a capitalization plan for the company.

So far, only one of the four proposed oil bills has received full approval from the country's lower house, and all four must still get approval in the country's Senate.

Brazil's government hopes to approve the bills before the end of the year to expedite production of massive offshore oil reserves discovered in a subsalt geological region off the country's southeastern coast in 2007.

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