Brazil Senate delays vote to end Petrobras offshore subsalt rights
BRASILIA, July 8 (Reuters) - Brazil's Senate late Wednesday created a panel to study a bill that would strip state-run Petrobras of rights and financial responsibilities over development of a key offshore oil region, putting off a planned vote on the measure.
The Senate will only vote on the bill after the commission, which has been given 45 days to complete its work, reviews the proposed legislation.
The bill seeks to end provisions of a 2010 law that require Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, to take a minimum 30 percent stake in all groups that win rights to develop oil in a region known as the subsalt.
The bill would also end a provision requiring Petrobras to serve as operator, or leader, of any new subsalt development group.
The subsalt is an offshore area near Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo that contains as much as 100 billion barrels of oil, enough to supply all current needs in the United States, the world's largest consumer, for 14 years.
The bill was drafted to help kick-start development of the subsalt, increasing the flow of royalties to the Brazilian Treasury, as a corruption scandal and soaring debt force Petrobras to cut investment by more than 40 percent. (Reporting by Marina Carolina Marcelo in Brasilia; Writing and additional reporting by Jeb Blount in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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