Brazil’s National Energy Council (CNPE) has authorized the second ever auction of oil development blocks in the so-called pre-salt region off Brazil’s continental shelf, the National Petroleum Authority (ANP) said Thursday. The auction will allow private companies, both domestic and foreign, to bid for oil development concessions. However, state-run oil company Petrobras has first preference. The company must decide within the next 30 days whether it wishes to use its first-preference option and on which blocks. In recent months, Petrobras has tended to shy away from new investments, instead selling assets in order to pay down huge debts. The ANP has not yet set a date for the auction, which will offer blocks in four different offshore fields in the Santos Basin and the Campos Basin. Bidding on pre-salt blocks was only made possible by a new law adopted in 2016. Previously, Petrobras was obliged to operate as controlling stakeholder on any and all pre-salt projects. The pre-salt region features high grade oil types but located within ultra-deep reserves beneath a layer of salt on the seabed.
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