Fifteen companies walked away with a total of 192 exploration blocks in nine Brazilian basins following the fourth cycle of the permanent concession offer, National Petroleum Agency of Brazil (ANP) announced Dec. 13.

The auctioning off of 192 blocks smashed the previous record of 59 blocks sold in the third cycle, ANP said.

According to ANP, the winning offers generated $421.7 million reals (US$85.5 million) in signing bonuses and will result in at least $2 billion reals (US$408 million) in investments in the exploration phase.

Rodolfo Saboia, director general of the ANP, said in a press release the bid round’s results indicate the opening of new exploratory frontiers, along with continued interest in mature basins like Potiguar and areas of high potential like Santos Basin.

The fourth cycle round broke another record, ANP said. It was the first time a block beyond 200 nautical miles was tendered for the first time, with Equinor Brazil snagging exploration rights in Block S-M-1378 in the Santos Basin.

Also in the Santos Basin, CNOOC Petroleum won operatorship of one block, while Karoon Brazil won two blocks.

In the Pelotas Basin, successful bidders include:

  • Chevron Brasil Oil (100%), 15 blocks;
  • Petrobras (operator, 50%), Shell Brazil (30%), CNOOC Petroleum (20%), three blocks; and
  • Petrobras (operator, 70%), Shell Brazil (30%), 26 blocks

In a Dec. 13 comment about the bid round, Welligence called Pelotas Basin South America’s next exploration hotspot.

“The big players went big on the frontier Pelotas Basin,” Welligence said, suggesting there is hope the operators can replicate success achieved offshore Namibia.

ANP also said Elysian successfully bid for more than 100 blocks in the Potiguar Basin, 10 in the Espirito Santo Basin, and 13 in the Sergipe-Alagoas Basin.

Other successful Potiguar Basin bidders include PetroRecôncavo, which won two blocks, PetroVictory, which won three, and 3R Areia Branca, which won four.

Blueshift won the only Paraná Basin block awarded.

ATEM Participações won operatorship of four blocks in the Amazon Basin.

In the Tucano Basin, Imetame will operate three blocks with 30% interest on behalf of Energy Paraná with 70% interest.

In the Recôncavo Basin, Imetame won four blocks and PERBRAS won two blocks.

ANP also announced that BP Energy purchased the Tupinambá Block as part of the second cycle of the permanent sharing offer.