Brazil opens deep-water oil reserves to foreign investors

The National Congress of Brazil has voted to further open its pre-salt oil reserves to foreign investors and reduce the involvement of Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras, the Bloomberg news agency reports.

Wednesday’s vote was 292 to 101, but there are a series of amendments to be discussed before the bill becomes law.

Petrobras is currently obliged to operate all of Brazil’s pre-salt fields and retain at least a 30-percent share. The proposed changes scrap the minimum shareholding requirement and enable Petrobras to have first pick of the fields. Bloomberg says the changes will lead to more local and foreign investment.

The country’s pre-salt reserves are located in deep water off the country’s southeast coast and are thought to contain about 50 million barrels of oil.