• Companies withhold bids for fields near Brazil national park

    By: MARCELO SILVA DE SOUSA, Associated Press

    Updated:
    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - The Brazilian government has failed to auction four oil fields located near one of the nation's biggest coral reef systems.

    Seventeen companies participated in the 36-block auction held by the Brazilian Petroleum Agency, which auctioned off a third of the areas for more than $2 billion.

    But after possible exploration caused worry among some environmental authorities and organizations, none of the companies submitted offers for the four fields off the coast of the northeastern state of Bahia.

    The fields lie some 130 kilometers (81 miles) from the Abrolhos Marine National Park, which is home to rare coral formations.

    Oil industry analyst Adriano Pires told The Associated Press that companies refrained from bidding for the fields because they "didn't want to get themselves in the middle of an environmental mess."

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