UPDATE 2-Brazil oil auction draws little interest as Petrobras stays away
(Adds result of final rounds)
By Jeb Blount, Marta Nogueira and Stephen Eisenhammer
RIO DE JANEIRO Oct 7 (Reuters) - Brazil attracted little interest in a new oil and gas exploration rights auction on Wednesday as state-led Petrobras and other major oil companies declined to bet on an industry in turmoil and an economy in recession.
The auction was seen as a test for how Brazil's oil industry would respond to recent downturns in prices, the country's recession and an regulatory environment many industry groups consider increasingly uncertain.
But only 37 of 226 blocks on offer were sold and six of 10 basins received no bids at all.
Important offshore areas such as the Campos and Camamu-Almada basins were ignored, while the relatively attractive Sergipe-Alagoas area received just two uncontested bids.
"The feeling is one of frustration," Aluizio Dos Santos, mayor of the city of Campos and president of the Organization of Oil Producing Municipalities, said at the auction in Rio de Janeiro.
Magda Chambriard, president of the ANP oil agency which organized the auction, told reporters the oil price had played a big part in the lack of interest. The price of crude is down more than 50 percent since the last auction two years ago.
"We sold 14 percent of the blocks which is a fair bit below what we were hoping for," Chambriard said. Continuación...