An auction next month of oilfields in Brazil may be the priciest ever held, raising at least $50 billion in licensing fees and compensation, according to people familiar with government estimates.
Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other energy giants are set to vie for deep-sea deposits that could hold 15 billion barrels of oil, almost twice as much as Norway’s reserves. Winners at the Nov. 6 auction are expected to pay $25 billion in licensing fees, plus share a portion of their production with the government.
In addition, bidders will need to negotiate payments to state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA for investments it has already made in the area. Those payments could add another $25 billion to $45 billion in costs, according to officials familiar with government figures who asked not to be named because the information is private.
The auction is unique in part because one of the four areas being offered is already gushing more than half of the daily output from Venezuela. It’s a rare opportunity for an industry more accustomed to exploring riskier offshore prospects that can take a decade or more to develop.