RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil expects to raise 1 billion reais (220.51 million pounds) this year through the sale of 5 million barrels of oil and gas from the country’s offshore pre-salt layer, oil and gas secretary Marcio Felix told Reuters.
The funds will include proceeds from the sale of oil produced by a Petrobras-led consortium in the Libra area, as well as through so-called unitization deals with private companies that have extracted oil from reserves that belong to the government.
Unitization is the process of joining different or competing oil rights in an oilfield into a single unit, which is required under Brazilian law.
But production in Libra, the first area to be tendered under production-sharing agreements, began in November 2017 with a long-term test and should be responsible for a significant portion of the receipts, Felix said.
The area is operated by Brazilian state controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro (PETR4.SA) in partnership with Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L), France’s Total SA (TOTF.PA), China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) [CNPET.UL] and China National Offshore Oil Corp [SASACY.UL].
Oil from Libra can be sold since the government published a provisional measure in December authorizing the Pre-Sal Petroleo SA (PPSA), the state company managing contracts to develop the offshore pre-salt layer, to directly sell oil and gas.
Felix said the government expects to sell its first cargo of about 500,000 barrels of oil from the Mero field in the Libra area of the Santos basin, also in the offshore pre-salt area, by mid-April.
Felix did not offer further details on unitization deals that are underway.
In Brazil’s pre-salt layer, billions of barrels of oil are trapped under thick layers of sand beneath the ocean floor off the coast of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
($1 = 3.2325 reais)
Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Lisa Shumaker