RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - France’s Total SA (TOTF.PA), the big winner in a Brazilian auction of offshore oil concessions on Thursday, said it will not participate in a bigger auction scheduled for Nov. 6 of the so-called Transfer of Rights area in Brazil’s pre-salt region.
The company’s chief executive officer, Patrick Pouyanné, said in a statement that was because the competitive bidding rounds were for non-operating stakes.
The Brazilian government expects to raise 106 billion reais ($25.8 billion) from the auction that is due to attract major global oil companies.
A consortium led by Total won the exploration and production rights for an offshore block near the pre-salt region on Thursday, agreeing to pay the government a signing bonus of 4 billion reais ($978 million).
Total plans to expand its business in Brazil in the distribution of fuels, where it made initial inroads by buying Zema Petroleo in Minas Gerais State in November, the company’s vice president for the Americas, Jean-Michel Lavergne, said.
“Brazil is a very large market and joining the effort to supply gasoline to everyone in a safe, clean and cheap way is clearly one of Total’s strategic goals,” Lavergne said at an investment conference in Sao Paulo.
“So we started with the purchase of a network of stations in the state of Minas Gerais, so let’s see how this works out. We will continue to study opportunities in this area,” he said.
Commenting on plans by state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) for the sale of refineries, Lavergne said the refining sector was “complex” and he was not sure whether such assets would interest Total.
Reporting by Gram Slattery and Marta Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis