Brazil’s successful auction of deep sea oil prospects last month was hailed as a sign of oil majors’ appetite for crude. But for Brazilian officials, the auction was also a watershed moment for the government’s programme of infrastructure and natural resources concessions.
A previous attempt to execute the complex auction had flopped in 2019. “Our joy can’t be disguised,” said Bento Albuquerque, Brazil’s minister for mines and energy, heralding the $2bn in fees raised for the cash-strapped government and the further $35bn in investments to be made by the likes of Shell and TotalEnergies in the country’s oil and gas sector.
In contrast with the government’s more vaunted plans for structural economic reforms, which have floundered for years in Congress, the programme to attract private companies to invest in and operate major infrastructure projects has boomed.
Since the beginning of the Bolsonaro…