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Brazil to Allow International Companies to Bid for Huge Offshore Fields
Brazil will invite international oil companies to bid for concessions in enormous, but technically challenging, offshore fields beginning next year, Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao told the Financial Times. The South American country had suspended the concessions in the so-called “pre-salt” area – so named because the estimated 80 billion barrels of high-quality crude in that new oil frontier lie far beneath the ocean floor under layers of rock and an unstable salt formation – shortly after it was discovered in 2007.
Foreign governments from China to the United States and international oil companies are lining up to help Brazil exploit its vast deposits, even as they are shunning Mexico and Venezuela. According to estimates by Brazil’s oil regulator, reserves in the pre-salt region could total as much as 80 billion barrels, or more than five times the country’s proven reserves of 14 billion barrels, and turn the South American giant into a major oil exporter.