February 15, 2019
The government intends to offer four areas in the pre-salt of the Santos Basin, in the auction of surpluses of the Transfer of Rights assignment, this year. According to a source, the intention is for the assets to be offered to unify, that is, to connect in a single project, to the Búzios, Itapu, Atapu and Sepia fields, operated today by Petrobras.
This is the basic scope of the round that has been presented to the market in recent days. Amid expectations of a close agreement between Petrobras and the Union to make the auction viable, the government has intensified contact with the big global oil companies to present the business opportunities of the year. Only this month, at least eight companies met with representatives of the Government.
The Transfer of Rights Assignment guaranteed Petrobras in 2010 the right to produce 5 billion barrels in the pre-salt as part of the operation that resulted in an increase in the Union’s stake in the company. While renegotiating some of the terms of the contract with the state-owned company, the government wants to tender this year for the surplus of the Transfer of Rights assignment – uncovered volumes that exceed the limit to which the company is entitled to produce. The National Petroleum Agency (ANP) estimates that surpluses have at least 6 billion barrels. As the areas are within the polygon of the pre-salt, they will be auctioned under the sharing regime, which provides for the payment of fixed subscription bonds and sets the winner by the highest percentage of oil offered to the Union.
In recent days, the agenda of government meetings with oil companies has intensified. On Wednesday and yesterday, the MME’s secretary of oil and gas, Márcio Félix, addressed “exploration and production investment opportunities in 2019” with members of ExxonMobil, Total, Equinor, BP , Chevron, CNPC and Cnooc.
Minister Bento Albuquerque met with Galp and Shell this month, while Vice President Hamilton Mourão, as the current chairman, met with ExxonMobil president Carla Lacerda on Friday. Albuquerque even installed an office in Rio de Janeiro, where the old Eletrobras office was located in the center of the city.
Shell Global President Ben van Beurden recently said that the company’s meeting with government officials – such as Albuquerque and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes – strengthened the belief that the current management will adopt a support agenda for the oil and gas industry. gas. He noted that Shell is looking at new opportunities in the country. “We would probably have the appetite to take on a bit more risk in Brazil if the opportunity presented itself,” he said in a conference call with investors two weeks ago.
Valor found that the agenda of the meeting went beyond the energy issue and even included talks with the economic team, one of the parties interested in the Transfer of Rights agreement with Petrobras and in the realization of the auction.
The list of companies that have maintained contact with the government gives the idea of the profile of the oil companies that are expected to participate in the bidding process: large global companies with the financial capacity to invest in the pre-salt and pay the massive subscription bonuses expected for the round. “The surplus of the onerous assignment may be an opportunity this year if it is commercially attractive,” Equinor’s executive vice president in Brazil, Margareth Øvrum, said last week.
The government also plans to hold this year the 6th Round of pre-salt sharing and the 16th Round of concessions. The industry’s great expectation, however, revolves around the auctioning of the surplus of the Transfer of Rights assignment, which will offer areas already discovered, with practically no exploratory risks.
In an interview with Valor, Petrobras president Roberto Castello Branco anticipated last week that he expects to close an agreement with the government this month to make the round feasible. “We are perfectly in line with the government that negotiating the Transfer of Rights assignment is not a tax issue, it is a matter of development of the oil industry in Brazil, the most important of which is to have a surplus auction of the Transfer of Rights assignment reserves.”