Shell Interested in Buying Brazil’s Pre-Salt Oil

Shell is a strategic partner of Petrobras in the pre-salt layer.Shell is a strategic partner of Petrobras in the pre-salt layer.

Shell was the only company expressing interest in purchasing crude oil produced in the pre-salt offshore zone that has attracted major interest from Big Oil.

Reuters quoted a person familiar with the matter as saying that the Anglo-Dutch supermajor was the only one showing interest in the auction for the oil set to take place next Wednesday, Oil Price reported.

The oil is Brazil’s portion of production from the prolific pre-salt zone and bidding rules stipulate that bidders must share a portion of the oil with the government.

While the setting of the condition for bidders was easy, it has taken Brazil several months to lay out rules for the marketing of the oil it receives from the companies exploiting the pre-salt layer.

Many Big Oil majors are already in Brazil, including Statoil, Shell and Total. The Norwegian state oil company is developing the Carcara field—part of the prolific Santos Basin, in the pre-salt zone.

Shell is a strategic partner of Petrobras in the pre-salt layer, holding minority interests in the Libra and Lula fields and in other areas such as Sapinhoa, Lapa and Iara, all of which are located in the Santos Basin.

Total is a partner of Shell, Petrobras and CNPC in the Libra field, also in the Santos Basin and considered one of the biggest offshore discoveries in the pre-salt zone.

Brazil has planned two more pre-salt tenders for this year and next, with this year’s to take place on June 7. So far, 16 companies have qualified to take part in the bidding round—a record number.

The country’s energy regulator ANP will offer four blocks in this round, two in Campos Basin and two in Santos Basin. The watchdog has estimated it could attract more than $900 million in signing bonuses.

The last bidding round, from October last year, raised $1.9 billion in signing bonuses, with winners including Exxon, Equinor (Statoil), Shell, Total and BP.


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