RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- A senior Brazilian official denied on Wednesday that the country's largest deep-water oilfield has failed to attract a sufficient number of oil magnates.
After four major U.S. and British firms, BP, BG, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, opted to forego the process in Libra, Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega said that large oil companies have expressed their interest in the bidding with a few exceptions.
"I can guarantee the auction will be successful. Everybody knows Libra is one of the most productive areas," the minister said.
The bidding is scheduled for Oct. 21.
Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP) was expecting some 40 companies to participate in the auction, but only 11 paid the fee to submit a bid, which was due last week.
Still, several large oil companies have said they want to take part in the bidding, including China's CNOOC, CNPC and Repsol Sinopec; Japan's Mitsui; Colombia's Ecopetrol; India's ONGC Videsh; Portugal's Petrogal; Malaysia's Petronas; Anglo-Dutch Shell; France's Total; and Brazil's own state oil giant Petrobras.
Industry observers say Brazil's new stipulations in the field -- including obliging companies to pay partial profits from the field's output to the Brazilian government, and having Petrobras serve as the operator of the oil blocks as a joint-venture partner -- may have discouraged some companies from bidding.
The Libra field is estimated to hold 8-12 billion barrels of recoverable oil, and will potentially double Brazil's current oil reserves.