Exxon Seeks Brazil’s Oil, Bidding Against BHP, Mitsui, Shell

Exxon Mobil Corp. is seeking to acquire oil blocks in Brazil two years after drilling three dry wells.

Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, will join 70 other companies, including Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, and Japanese commodities trader Mitsui & Co. Ltd., to register for an oil block auction scheduled for May 14 and 15, according to a copy of the list seen by Bloomberg News.

Other companies that will seek to start producing oil in Brazil include Cnooc Ltd., Premier Oil Plc, JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp, Panoro Energy ASA, Hess Corp., GDF Suez and Petroliam Nasional Bhd., according to the list.

Brazil hasn’t auctioned oil blocks since 2008. While the country is home to the world’s largest oil discoveries this century after finding the so-called pre-salt reserves under the Atlantic ocean in 2006, the blocks being auctioned in May are not part of the same geological formation.

The blocks that will be made available for the companies are located off Brazil’s northeastern and northern coasts, while the pre-salt finds are off the coasts of the southeast states of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Espirito Santo.

Exxon quit its only Brazilian block last year after drilling three dry holes in deep waters.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Group Plc and Statoil ASA are among companies that already have production operations in Brazil that are also competing, as are Total SA and Repsol SA, according to the list. Nineteen Brazilian companies will seek blocks, including OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA.