March 31, 2019 / 7:26 AM / 24 days ago

REFILE-Brazil's Petrobras may bid in Israel gas exploration tender -report

(Fixes spelling of Petrobras in first paragraph)

JERUSALEM, March 31 (Reuters) - Brazilian state-run oil firm Petrobras is considering bidding in a new tender to explore for oil and gas offshore Israel, a leading Israeli financial news website reported on Sunday.

Calcalist reported that a final decision could be announced during a four-day visit to Israel by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro that began on Sunday.

The possibility of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, taking part in Israel’s newest auction for offshore blocks was raised during a meeting in Houston earlier this month between Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and his Brazilian counterpart Bento Albuquerque, Calcalist said.

Steinitz’s office declined to comment on the report.

Petrobras was not reachable for immediate comment.

A number of large gas discoveries offshore Israel and in nearby eastern Mediterranean waters in the last decade have made Israel a potentially lucrative prospect for big energy firms.

Israel is tendering 19 new offshore blocks to oil and gas companies. A previous auction elicited bids from only two groups of companies, and the energy ministry said it expected more to compete this time as conditions have improved.

Exxon Mobil Corp, in a major policy shift, is also considering bidding in the auction. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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