Legal Models of Petroleum and Natural Gas Ownership in Brazilian Law

Yanko Marcius de Alencar Xavier

in Property and the Law in Energy and Natural Resources

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579853
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722745 | DOI:
 							Legal Models of Petroleum and Natural Gas Ownership in Brazilian Law

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The exploration and production of oil and gas in Brazil have been government monopolies for a considerable time. Under this model, these mineral resources belong to the government, and are to be used in accordance with the national interest. The state-run company, Petrobras (Petr óleo Brasileiro SA), maintained exclusive control of all oil industry activities in Brazil for four decades following its establishment in 1953. In 1995, Amendment No 9 to the 1988 Federal Constitution changed the legal structure of the state monopoly, and established a new regulatory framework for the Brazilian oil industry. Although government monopoly has been retained, the amended Constitution and the Oil and Natural Gas Act (Federal Law No 9478/1997) allowed private companies to exercise ownership over oil and gas through concession contracts and the payment of fees and surtaxes to the government. The opening of the petroleum market has permitted a very large influx of money from national and international companies, which has been sufficient to increase the number of proven oil reserves and enhance energy security. However, the global energy crisis, the gradual rise of oil and gas prices, and the recent discoveries of new reserves in Brazilian deep waters (the so-called ‘pre-salt’ fields) have led to renewed political debate about the legal structure of oil industry activities, with arguments being made for it to be changed back in the direction of greater governmental participation. Over the course of the past century, the balance of public and private involvement in the Brazilian petroleum industry has in fact undergone a number of changes, as this chapter will discuss.

Keywords: state ownership; private ownership; monopoly; oil and gas; Petrobras; property rights

Chapter.  4994 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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