November 10, 2017: Felipe Maciel
The 15 th round of the ANP, approved by the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE) and to be held on March 29, 2018, will tender the SC-AP-5 sector in deep waters of the Campos Basin, which was withdrawn from the 9th round of bids from the agency after the announcement of the discovery of the pre-salt, made exactly 10 years ago.
The decision a decade ago was taken when the government of former President Lula decided to create an Interministerial Commission to institute a new regulatory model for the Brazilian pre-salt: the sharing of production.
“The National Council for Energy Policy – CNPE was informed of the results of the production tests obtained by Petróleo Brasileiro SA – PETROBRAS, in exploratory areas under its responsibility, which point to the existence of a significant new oil region in Brazil with large volumes recoverable amounts of oil and gas. These volumes, if confirmed, will change the level of the country’s reserves, placing them among the largest in the world, said the resolution that defined the removal of the blocks from the auction.
When the country re-discusses the maintenance of this model, nine blocks in this sector will be tendered. In the 2007 auction, six areas were to be tendered but eventually excluded from the auction. Since then the Campos Basin has only once again offered areas this year, with exploratory blocks in the SC-AP1 and CS-AP3 sectors, in the 14th round.
In that year 2007, the deepwater areas of the Campos and Santos basins was OGX’s biggest bet, a rookie in the ANP auctions that had been set up months before and capitalized with E $ 1.3 billion invested by Eike Batista. The company set up a heavyweight team headed by Rodolfo Landin, now president of Ouro Petro Óleo e Gás, and Paulo Mendonça, who until then was executive manager of Exploration at Petrobras and responsible for managing major discoveries made by the state company.
The withdrawal of the 41 exploratory blocks from the 9th round is singled out by many as the first step of the OGX debacle. It is impossible to say if the company would have been successful if it had won the areas. In fact, it is not possible to say whether the company – despite all the appetite it had in that auction – would take over the areas. In the previous auction, the 8th round, BG, Repsol, Shell and Petrobras disputed areas in deep waters of Santos, but ended up not taking since the auction was suspended by a preliminary injunction and the blocks were not granted.