Brazil’s ANP energy regulator has authorized six more companies to participate in an auction of offshore oil and natural gas exploration and production blocks.
The six newly qualified companies bring to 44 the number registered to participate in the 11th oil-licensing round, scheduled for May 14-15, the ANP said.
Angola’s Sonangol Guanambi, China’s CNOOC International, Colombia’s Trayectoria Oil & Gas, Brazil’s UTC Oleo e Gas and Petra Energia and U.S.-based Hess Corporation were granted authorization on Friday.
Companies headquartered in Brazil, the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, the Cayman Islands, Colombia, China, Bermuda, Spain, France, Norway and Panama have been authorized to take part in May’s licensing round, in which 289 blocks covering 155,800 sq. kilometers (60,155 sq. miles) will be put up for auction.
The majority of these so-called “post-salt” blocks – 166 – are located offshore in the Atlantic, 94 of them deepwater, while the remaining 123 are onshore blocks.
Brazil’s most promising oil region is known as the “pre-salt,” a recently discovered frontier so-named named because its fields are located under water, rocks and a shifting layer of salt at depths of up to 7,000 meters (22,950 feet) below the surface of the Atlantic.
One of the world’s biggest discoveries in recent decades, the pre-salt fields are projected to hold tens of billions of barrels and could transform Brazil into a major oil exporter.
A historic first auction of pre-salt blocks is scheduled to take place in November, but development of those reserves will be governed by a new oil law that will reduce companies’ profits.