* Production-sharing auction to be 1st under 2010 law
* Sale to offer some of most promising offshore areas
* Govt. include giant Libra prospect in sale -GloboNews
RIO DE JANEIRO, May 23 Brazil will hold an
auction for rights to explore some of its most promising
offshore oil and natural gas areas in October, one month earlier
than expected, the GloboNews 24-hour TV news channel reported on
The auction date has been moved up to capitalize on strong
demand for high-risk frontier areas at a May 14 auction, the
first in Brazil in five years, GloboNews said in an unsourced
Last week's auction sold 142 exploration areas to 39
companies from 12 countries for 2.82 billion reais ($1.4
billion) in cash and promises to invest a minimum of 7 billion
Brazil also plans to include the giant Libra prospect among
the areas on offer in October, GloboNews said. Libra holds about
16 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to Brazil's oil
agency, the ANP, which discovered oil in the prospect in 2010.
That's enough to supply all U.S. oil needs for more than two
years and about equal to Brazil's current proved reserves.
The planned auction will be the first under a 2010 law that
increased state control over resources in the offshore Campos
and Santos Basins northeast and south of Rio de Janeiro.
The areas on offer will be in the so-called Subsalt Polygon,
home to giant discoveries where oil is trapped in undersea
reservoirs by a layer of salt as much as 7,000 meters below the
The Polygon covers nearly all unleased areas in the Campos
and Santos basins, regions where existing leases already produce
more than 80 percent of Brazil's oil. The Polygon may hold as
much as 100 billion barrels of oil, according to the Brazilian
Petroleum Institute of Rio de Janeiro-State University.
The press offices of Brazil's Presidential Palace and oil
regulator, the ANP, did not answer calls outside of business
The ANP, which will manage the auction, has scheduled a
media conference for Thursday at noon local time (1500 GMT) to
discuss the outlook for oil in the area being auctioned. The
government will announce the changed auction timing at the
event, GloboNews said.
Under the 2010 law all new leases in the Polygon will be
production-sharing contracts. The winning companies or groups
will be those that offer Brazil's government the largest share
of oil and gas output to sell on its own account through a new
state-owned oil-marketing company.
State-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or
Petrobras, will also be required to take a minimum 30
percent stake and pay at least 30 percent of all investment in
the Subsalt Polygon blocks.
Petrobras will also be the only company allowed to act as
operator of the new areas, meaning it will have the lion's share
of control over how they are explored and developed.
In previous auctions, and in the auction earlier this month,
winning companies or groups won ownership of all output from
their leases, but have to pay a royalty on production.