BRASILIA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Brazil plans to extend oil exploration rights in areas awarded between 1998 and 2008 to encourage greater investment despite a recent plunge in oil prices, Energy Minister Eduardo Braga told newspaper Valor in an interview published on Friday.
Brazil’s government also plans to cancel exploration rights in areas without production for 180 days, putting them up for a new auction, and to extend for 20 years a special customs regime for oil equipment known as Repetro, the minister told Valor.
Braga said the measures could help trigger up to $130 billion in investments in Brazil’s oil sector, which has been heavily affected by tumbling crude prices and a huge corruption probe at state-controlled producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA and many of its local and foreign suppliers.
Braga said he expected crude oil prices to rise back to $50-$70 a barrel sometime between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first three months of 2017. Brent crude oil has traded slightly above $30 a barrel recently.
Spokespeople at the energy ministry did not immediately respond to request for comments. (Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Gareth Jones)