(Adds quotes from CEO, details of oil law, recent license deal)
BRASILIA, Sept 8 Norway's Statoil sees
changes to Brazil's oil industry laws, including the end of
mandatory participation by Petrobras in all subsalt blocs, as
key for attracting foreign investment, Chief Executive Officer
Eldar Saetre said on Thursday.
Saetre's comments to journalists followed a meeting with
Brazil's President Michel Temer in Brasilia and he briefly
talked to reporters after the meeting, in which he said they
discussed Brazil's business environment and oil industry
"Having clear rules is very important to the development of
Brazil's oil industry," said Saetre.
Brazil's Congress is evaluating proposed changes to the
country's oil legislation, particularly in relation to the vast
offshore oil blocs in a region known as the subsalt.
Under current laws, state-controlled oil company Petroleo
Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, is obliged to hold a
minimum share of 30 percent of any subsalt bloc. The law also
says Petrobras must be the operator in any consortium of
companies holding a new license for a subsalt area.
Petrobras has been tangled for two years in a vast
corruption scandal and its debt load is the largest in the
global oil industry, which many see as an obstacle to future
Petrobras CEO Pedro Parente himself has argued for changes
in the law, saying he would like to have the freedom to decide
in which blocs the company will participate.
"Being an operator for us is really relevant," said Eldar
Saetre, regarding the possibility of Statoil leading a
consortium in a subsalt bloc.
Statoil announced in July it would pay Petrobras $2.5
billion for a 66 percent share in the BM-S-8 offshore license, a
high-potential subsalt area known as Carcara.
Statoil's current partners in Carcara are Portugal's Galp
Energia SGPS SA, Brazil's QGEP SA and
privately owned Barra Energia do Brasil Petróleo e Gás Ltda.
Barra Energia is backed by U.S. investment funds Riverstone
Holdings LLC and First Reserve Corp.
(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcelo; Writing by Marcelo
Teixeira; Editing by Chris Reese)