(Adds vote count, details of the bill, background)
By Maria Carolina Marcello
BRASILIA Oct 5 Brazil's lower chamber of
Congress approved the main points of a bill on Wednesday
removing a requirement that state-led oil company Petrobras be
the sole operator of vast offshore oil reserves in the costly
subsalt layer with a minimum 30 percent stake in their
The bill, which could be amended in the future, is aimed at
boosting private investment in Brazil's oil industry, though
Petrobras retains the first option to develop promising fields.
The legislation has already been approved by the Senate and
passed the lower house 292-101.
Brazil hopes the rules changes will attract foreign oil
companies with resources that the scandal-plagued, debt-ridden
Petroleo Brasileiro does not have.
The bill, which overturns parts of a 2010 law seeking to
increase government control of new offshore oil and gas
resources, is part of President Michel Temer's strategy to
revive Brazil's economy by reducing state intervention and
encouraging private entrepreneurs to take up the slack.
Temer, who replaced leftist Dilma Rousseff after she was
impeached in August for breaking fiscal rules, has promised to
adopt more business-friendly policies to pull the economy out of
its worst recession since the 1930s.
His government last month unveiled a new concession program
to increase private participation in airports, roads and ports
as well as in the oil and gas sectors.
The 2010 production-sharing law was criticized for limiting
foreign investment in the so-called Subsalt Polygon, a region
off Brazil's coast near Rio de Janeiro where large oil deposits
lie far beneath the seabed under a layer of mineral salt.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Maria Carolina Marcello;
Editing by Daniel Flynn, Ana Mano and Lisa Shumaker)