RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Brazil may hold a second licensing round this year for new oil exploration areas in an offshore region known as the sub-salt where massive discoveries have been made, the Energy Ministry said on Tuesday, as it looks to spur economic growth.
Seeking to attract investment and avoid a third year of recession in 2017, the government was already planning one licensing round for sub-salt prospects to take place by the end of June.
A second round could take place before the end of this year, the ministry said in a statement.
Brazil's government has said it expects to raise some 3 billion reais ($937 million) from the first sub-salt licensing round of this year.
The areas on offer will include four blocks close to large existing oil discoveries near Rio de Janeiro.
This year's licensing rounds would be the first since the introduction of legislation scrapping a requirement that state-controlled oil company Petrobras have at least a 30 percent stake in each new sub-salt prospect.
Petroleo Brasileiro, as the company is formally known, would have 30 days after details are published to decide if it wants to take part in the new developments, the ministry said.
($1 = 3.20 reais)
Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Daniel Wallis