Brazilian oil regulator ANP said on Feb. 21 it approved the participation of 14 companies in an oil round to be held on March 29.

Among the companies authorized to bid for the round, that will auction offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration blocs, are BP Plc (NYSE: BP), ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), Repsol SA, Petroleo Brasileiro SA (NYSE: PBR), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE: RDS.A) and Total SA (NYE: TOT).

If all the 70 blocs in auction are sold, the government would receive 4.8 billion reais (US$1.5 billion). But ANP head Decio Oddone has said the government estimates a relevant number of the areas would not be sold.

The government may raise around 1.1 billion in two auctions, he said, considering another round of so-called subsalt areas scheduled for June 7.