The Brazilian government has addressed long-held concerns about a lack of oil sector planning by publishing a detailed auction calendar that outlines key dates and areas for licensing rounds in the next three years.
The announcement is seen as the strongest signal yet that Brazil's crisis-racked oil industry is on the road to recovery, having overcome economic and political turbulence, falling crude prices and a colossal corruption scandal at state-run firm Petrobras.
According to the ABESPetro industry association, this year's auctions alone will attract investment of US$6bn.
They will include licenses awarded under Brazil's oil and gas concession model and the production sharing system for pre-salt blocks.
Interest in pre-salt areas is expected to be boosted by new rules that allow foreign and private companies to operate blocks as majority stakeholders.
The government has also lowered oil and gas local content requirements, making it easier for operators to source cheaper equipment and services abroad.
Local oil juniors Ubuntu Engenharia e Serviços and Guindastes Brasil Intermodal secured two blocks each as the government awarded eight of the nine areas on offer.
The second pre-salt auction - which will include so-called unitized fields that overlap existing concession boundaries - is expected to be held midyear. The areas adjoin the Carcará, Sapinhoá and Tartaruga Verde fields, operated by Petrobras, plus the Gato do Mato field, operated by Shell.
The 14th licensing round to be held in the second half of the year will offer 291 blocks across nine sedimentary basins in the states of Maranhão, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Alagoas, Sergipe, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
In November, the government will stage the third pre-salt auction, featuring the Pau-Brasil and Peroba prospects in the Santos basin, and the Alto de Cabo Frio-Oeste and Alto de Cabo Frio-Central fields in the Campos basin.
The 2018 schedule will begin with the fourth pre-salt auction in May. It will include the Saturno, Três Marias and Uirapuru fields in the Santos basin, and the C-M-537, C-M-655, C-M-657 and C-M-709 blocks in the Campos basin.
Also in May will be the 15th concession round, which will comprise offshore blocks in the Foz do Amazonas basin (sectors SFZA-AP1, AP2, AR1 and AR2), the Ceará basin (sectors SCE-AP2 and AP3), the Potiguar basin (sectors SPOT-AP1, AP2 and AR2), the Campos basin (sector SC-AP4) and the Santos basin (sector SS-AUP1). Areas in the Santos and Campos basin will be ultra-deewpater, but outside the pre-salt polygon, according to hydrocarbons regulator ANP.
In addition, Round 15 will include onshore blocks in the Paraná basin (sector SPAR-N and CN), the Parnaíba basin (sectors SPN-SE and N), as well as selected areas in the Sergipe-Alagoas, Recôncavo, Potiguar and Espírito Santo basins.
Also earmarked for 2018 is the fifth round of marginal areas, which are yet to be defined.
Likewise, 2019 will feature one auction each for concession-model contracts, pre-salt production-sharing rights and licenses for marginal fields.
The fifth auction of pre-salt areas - slated for the second half of 2019 - will include the Aram, Sudeste de Lula, Sul e Sudoeste de Júpiter and Bumerangue prospects, all located in the Santos basin.
The 16th concession round will feature selected offshore blocks from the Camamu-Almada basin (sectors SCAL-AP1 and AP2), the Jacuípe basin (sector SJA-AP) the Campos basin (sector SC-AP5) and the Santos basin (sector SS-AUP5). It will also comprise onshore areas from the Solimões basin (sector SSOL-C), the Parecis basin (sector SPRC-L and O), the Sergipe-Alagoas basin, the Recôncavo basin, the Potiguar basin and the Espírito Santo basin.
Areas to be included in the sixth marginal round are yet to be defined.
2017 OIL & GAS AUCTIONS
SECOND PRE-SALT AUCTION
2018 OIL & GAS AUCTIONS
THIRD PRE-SALT ROUND
FOURTH PRE-SALT ROUND
FIFTH PRE-SALT ROUND
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