Major oil companies like Shell, BP, and Total failed to submit bids for new blocks in Brazil’s most recent auction yesterday, reported Bloomberg.
The auction showed dismal results, with only 37 of the blocks being awarded, despite having more than 250 on offer.
Of those awarded, most of them went to smaller domestic firms. A notable exception includes France’s Engie—formerly known as GDF Suez.
Brazil’s state-run production and exploration firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA—more commonly known as Petrobras—also did not participate, the first time in the group’s history it has sat out on a Brazilian bid round.
The new bid round comes amid turmoil in Brazil’s oil industry. The sector is only just emerging from a massive corruption scandal involving the highest levels of Petrobras.
Historically, foreign investors have preferred to partner with Petrobras in order to reduce risk, so when Petrobras sat out, most foreign companies did too.
Petrobras is currently attempting to trim its operating costs, slashing its capital budget by $3b for this year, noted Oil and Gas Journal. The group is further expecting to decrease its spending by $8b for 2016, drawing the budget down to $18b overall.
Just two years ago capital spending at the company was running at over $40 billion. ” Financial services firm Raymond James & Associates Inc. stated in an Oct. 6 energy update, “To be sure, the Brazilian real’s depreciation [down 32% year-to-date] plays a key role here, so in local currency terms the change is much smaller than in dollar terms,” RJA said.
Net income at Petrobras has dropped about 50% compared to last year.