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Pre-salt laws put Petrobras centre stage

Petrobras says it's capable of developing Brazil's pre-salt oil and gas resources. The government is giving it the chance, writes Tom Nicholls

THE GOVERNMENT is to give Petrobras privileged access to Brazil's coveted pre-salt areas. Under laws being considered by Congress – and likely to be enacted in March or April, according to Petrobras' chief executive, José Sergio Gabrielli – Brazil will adopt a production-sharing model for unlicensed pre-salt blocks and other "strategic" areas, abandoning its concession system. Petrobras will be granted full ownership of some pre-salt acreage and will be guaranteed a minimum 30% share of any pre-salt areas the government decides to tender in licensing rounds. In all cases, the state-controlled oil company will be sole operator, overseen by a newly created regulator for pre-salt areas, Petro-

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