Brazil Sees Light Demand for Oil Block Auction

ROGERIO JELMAYER AND JEFFREY T. LEWIS, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/8/2015

The Brazilian government’s auction of exploratory oil blocks met with little demand on Wednesday, with no bids from state oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, as the low price of oil and local content-rules weighed on interest.

Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, raised only 121 million reais ($31.4 million). The minimum required bids on all the blocks up for sale totaled 979 million reais.

ANP sold only 37 of the 266 blocks on offer. None of the parcels is located in Brazil’s oil-rich pre-salt, an offshore area in which oil is located under salt deposits deep beneath the sea.

The outcome of the auction wasn’t surprising, given current conditions in world oil markets and the rules of the auction, said Adriano Pires, director of Rio-based consultancy Brazilian Infrastructure Center.

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