September 27, 2018 / 5:28 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Exxon Brazil to focus on drilling and production -CEO

(Adds comment by company's Brazil CEO, background)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp will focus on drilling and production in Brazil now that it has made extensive acquisitions of oil blocks in the country, the company's chief executive officer in Brazil, Carla Lacerda, said on Thursday.

Exxon also sees new opportunities in Brazil's biofuels, bioenergy and gas sectors, Lacerda said during a panel discussion at the Rio Oil & Gas convention in Rio de Janeiro.

"We are principally in the exploration phase so my big task now is to drill some wells so that we can start up production some day," Lacerda said.

Exxon has plowed big money into Brazil to replenish its dwindling reserves, starting with an oil auction in September of last year. Before that, it was among the few oil majors without an exploration presence in Brazil's pre-salt, where billions of barrels of oil are trapped under a thick layer of salt beneath the ocean floor.

The American oil major is expected to bet big on Friday in an oil auction that could be its last crack at Brazil's coveted offshore oil for another four years, as a wide-open election spurs fears about barriers to foreign investment. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro Writing by Anthony Boadle and Alexandra Alper Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis)

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