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Brazil expects to collect at least US$47b in signing bonuses from oil auctions: official

[HOUSTON] Brazil expects to collect at least US$47 billion in signing bonuses this year from three upcoming offshore oil auctions set for October and November, an official said on Monday.

An Oct 27 sale of production rights in Brazil's so-called transfer-of-rights area - one of the world's most promising offshore oil areas off the coast of southeastern Brazil - could draw US$27 billion in signing bonuses, said Marcio Felix, executive secretary for oil, gas and biofuel at Brazil's Ministry of Mines and Energy, at a Houston energy conference.

Two other offshore bidding rounds are set for Oct 10 and Nov 7. The Nov 7 round was expected to generate US$20 billion, and Mr Felix said the October round could yield even more.

Brazil's national energy policy council (CNPE) also plans to set "some strategic guidelines" for Brazil's refining sector soon, Mr Felix said on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

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In a meeting limited to eight government officials, CNPE is set to gather on May 9 to discuss the guidelines. The meeting follows a plan by state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA to sell eight refineries for roughly US$20 billion and focus on its core oil and gas exploration business.

"We welcome this (Petrobras) initiative (to sell refining assets) and Petrobras is independent and can make this decision," Mr Felix said. "Our concern is how this will (affect) the private sector and how there will be a new market for refining in Brazil."

REUTERS