The so long awaited first pre-salt auction took place in a hotel in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, on Monday 21st October.
In spite of the promising capacity of the oil field, several potential oil field operators decided not to participe in the auction, so that the only remaining consortium won the right to explore Libra by offering the minimum bid. The consortium comprises five companies, as shown below.
The auction was followed by a raise of 4% in Petrobras stocks. ANP director-general said she was satisfied and that the results could not be any better.
“We couldn’t have attained a scenario that would be more successful than this one”, said Magda Chambriard in a news conference. “The capabilities of the companies leave nothing to be desired”.
The Chinese presence was not surprising, but many said they did not expect Shell and Total to participate in the same consortium as CNOOC and CNPC. The share to be paid to the government as royalties is going to be 41.65%, which was the minimum required bid.
As small groups started to demonstrate against the bidding of pre-salt wealth in the area close to where the auction took place, the Brazilian Army blocked off the main accesses to the building. Two contradicting standing points among the protestants could be observed: one group believes the Brazilian oil reservoirs should not be bid to foreign investors, whilst the other group points out the need of such investments in order for Brazil to have the required technology to be able to explore that oil.
The demonstration did not lead to any violent acts. The contract that determined a minimum 30% participation of Petrobras as the major operator can be interpreted as a common ground found by the Brazilian government to comply with such contrasting demands.