Brazil to review rules for tenth lease auction

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, July 28 -- Brazilian Energy Minister Edison Lobao, reiterating announcements made earlier this month, said his country will review rules for the 10th auction of oil exploration and development concessions in August.

"The lots to be auctioned will be in shallow waters and on land," said Lobao, who added that the auction will not include any lots in or near the presalt area off the southeastern coast of Brazil.

Lobao, who urged the government not to rush to auction off the blocks, said the Conselho Nacional de Politica Energetica (CNPE), a recently established interministerial committee, will make proposals by September on how the presalt areas should be exploited.

In particular, the group was created to alter the rules for the exploration of oil reserves at the subsalt layer, and it has a 60-day period to introduce suggestions on the oil law to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Along with Lobao, CNPE committee members include Guido Mantega, minister of finance; Paulo Bernardo, minister of planning; Dilma Rousseff, chief-of-staff; Haroldo Lima, head of national petroleum, gas, and biofuels agency; Luciano Coutinho, president of Development Bank; and Jose Sergio Gabrielli, Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) chief executive officer.

Lobao also said CNPE would meet Dec. 2 to decide on Round 8, which was suspended in November 2006 after an injunction blocked the auction from proceeding. The injunction has been lifted, meaning the auction could take place this year.

Earlier this month, Lobao said Brazil would likely hold two auctions for oil and gas exploration blocks this year, but would exclude rights to blocks in the presalt layer until passage of a new regulatory law (OGJ Online, July 13, 2008).

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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