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Brazil to launch TOR production-sharing auction on 28 October


By Argus

Petroleumworld 03 04 2019

Brazil's national energy policy council CNPE decided late today it will launch a long-awaited production-sharing auction covering the Santos basin pre-salt cluster known as the Transfer of Rights (TOR) region on 28 October.

The areas are estimated to hold recoverable reserves of more than 15bn bl of oil equivalent (boe), according to some studies.

The auction will cover excess reserves in the Atapu, Buzios, Itapu and Sepia and would require winning firms to reimburse state-controlled Petrobras, the sole owner of the TOR regions, for development costs. Signing bonuses and profit oil minimums have yet to be defined.

"The completion of this auction in 2019 is an extraordinary window of opportunity that cannot be missed," the mines and energy ministry said in a note. Brazil's new president Jair Bolsonaro has made the TOR auction a top priority of his government.

The CNPE decision sidesteps a stalled debate in Brazil's congress. The surprise move is likely to face legal challenges, but if allowed to move forward it would be the second auction of pre-salt acreage planned for this year.

In 2010, the federal government directly granted Petrobras the right to produce up to 5bn boe from the TOR region. The government and Petrobras have been renegotiating the R75bn ($42bn at the time of the transaction) deal since January 2018. A final agreement could see Petrobras owed $14bn, funds that will likely be used to acquire excess reserves.

Billed as "no risk" assets, the TOR regions have attracted the interest of firms with expanding pre-salt footprints such as Shell, Norway's Equinor and ExxonMobil.

Earlier today, Petrobras chief executive Roberto Castello Branco predicted that the TOR auction issue would bypass congress and move forward quickly



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