The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday night passed legislation that could open a large portion of offshore oil reserves to development by private companies. The bill would allow state-run oil company Petrobras to sell its rights in a major pre-salt reserve in the Santos Basin to private bidders as long as Petrobras retains at least a 30% stake. The bill replaces 2010 legislation making Petrobras the sole developer in the region for oil volumes up to five billion barrels. The reserve includes six areas in the Santos Basin considered among the most productive in Brazil. Petrobras has argued that it does not have the resources to develop the region alone and should be allowed to recruit partners. The Chamber of Deputies must still vote amendments before sending the bill to the Senate for consideration.
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