Libra oil auction shaping up as a major disappointment for Brazil

|By:, SA News Editor

More on Brazil's planned auction of the Libra oil prospect: Only 11 companies registered to participate - far fewer than the expected 40 - and some of the biggest firms backed out, including Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and BP (earlier).

Asian state-owned companies dominate the list of participants: India's ONGC, Malaysia's Petronas, Colombia's Ecopetrol (EC), China's Cnooc (CEO) and China National Petroleum (PTR); China's Sinopec (SNP) will take part through joint ventures with Brazilian units of Spain's Repsol (REPYY.PK, REPYF.PK) and Portugal's Galp Energia (GLPEF.PK).

Also taking part: Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), Total (TOT) and Mitsui (MITSY.PK, MITSF.PK).

Analysts blame the lack of interest on new rules drawn up by Brazil's government that place development and profits under greater state control; too many companies don't want "the trouble of dealing with Petrobras (PBR) and the government. You can get good oil assets elsewhere without that."

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