BRASILIA, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Brazil’s government is considering postponing its next oil rights auction to the second half of 2015 due to a corruption investigation at state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA and the recent plunge in oil prices, a newspaper said on Sunday.
The 13th oil rights auction, the first sale of petroleum and natural gas concession rights since 2013, is currently scheduled for between late April and mid-May, according to Brazil’s oil regulator ANP.
Oil companies see a delay as “certain”, according to Rio de Janeiro-based newspaper O Globo, citing unnamed government and industry sources. A government official was quoted as saying there were worries about financial troubles at construction companies cited in a corruption probe at Petrobras, as Brazil’s state-run oil company is commonly known.
The 13th auction is expected to offer areas in the country’s promising Eastern Margin offshore region, but would not include any of the so-called “subsalt” resources.
Dozens of executives from some of Brazil’s largest construction and engineering firms have been arrested since late last year for allegedly skimming billions of dollars off contracts with Petrobras.
Spokespeople at ANP and Petrobras were not immediately available to comment on the O Globo report. (Writing by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Rosalind Russell)