(Adds details of subsecretary’s comments, adds context on oil auctions)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Brazil’s government is unlikely to auction the remaining production rights to the “transfer-of-rights” (TOR) offshore oil zone until 2021, Economy Ministry Subsecretary Waldery Rodrigues told Reuters on Friday.
The TOR area is a prolific oil-producing region off the Brazilian coast. The government auctioned production rights to two of its subdivisions in November, but two others failed to attract a bidder.
The auction was widely considered a failure, as both blocks were purchased by consortia dominated by state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA, which already had significant overlapping production rights in the area.
Rodrigues said the process of auctioning off the remaining area was likely to be delayed as Brazil’s federal audit court, known as the TCU, looked into the auction’s structure. Officials are also looking at how to improve the auction structure to attract international oil firms, he said.
“The calendar is very tight... It’s more likely that it will happen next year,” Rodrigues told Reuters.
The remaining subdivisions in the TOR area are known as Atapu and Sepia and had a combined minimum signing bonus of 36.6 billion reais ($8.34 billion) in the November auction. That figure, however, is likely to change in any future auction.
($1 = 4.39 reais)
Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Dan Grebler