Brazil’s 15th oil round, offering rights to 68 onshore and offshore exploration blocks, yielded R$8 billion in signing bonuses on Thursday. The government originally offered rights to 70 blocks but two were withdrawn after objections from federal auditors. The auditors spotted what they said were irregularities in the bidding tender. Of the 68 blocks offered, bidders snapped up 22, paying R$8 billion in signing bonuses. The government had expected about R$4.8 billion in bonuses from the auction. Brazil’s National Petroleum Authority (ANP) may incorporate the unsold blocks in future auctions. As in the past, bidders preferred offshore blocks. All 22 of those signed were offshore. A total of 21 companies participated in the a uction. Among major winners were ExxonMobile, Shell, Repsol, Chevron and Petrobras. Proceeds from Thursday’s auction already exceed the ANP’s projections for the entire year, some R$7 billion. The ANP sought to make blocks sold at the 15th oil round more attractive to investors by loosening local content restrictions and by maintaining tax abatements for imported parts and equipment.
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