The National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) published on the Federal Government Official Gazette of January 8, 2015, the Notice for Public Hearing and Consultation No. 1/2015, regarding the draft of a new Resolution containing new procedures applicable to the bid rounds for the concession of oil and gas (O&G) blocks for exploration and production (E&P) activities. If enacted, the Resolution will revoke ANP's resolution No. 27, of June 2, 2011, and also modify the rules of bidding procedures, among which we highlight the change of the steps in the qualification procedure, which will be conduct after the decision on the winning bidder(s).
The publication of the Public Consultation came in along with the approval by the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE), on December 9, 2014, of the recommendation for the ANP to organize the 13th Bid Round for the concession round for of O&G blocks. The areas for the public bidding are still under review by the Federal Government and the final proposal about the areas will be submitted for President Dilma Rousseff's approval, albeit there is a speculation that a significant part of the fields will be located in the Brazilian East Bank sedimentary basin and along the coast of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, up until the State of Rio Grande do Norte. It is expected for such bid round to take place during the second semester of 2015.
The inversion of the bid round procedures set forth by the Resolution above transfers the stages concerning the submission of the bid bonds and bid proposals by the bidders, so that it precedes the qualification stage, which shall be limited only to the winning bidder(s). The evaluation of the submitted bid proposals shall occur by the attribution of points and weights to pre-determined objective criteria to be provided for in the bid notice, being the winning bidder the one who obtains the highest score.
According to the Resolution subject to Public Consultation, if the winning bidder in the public session for the submission of bid proposals does not qualify under the terms of the public notice, the remaining bidders shall be requested through a single call to express their interest in honoring the winning bid proposal.
The bidding's procedure inversion is implemented by the Government in other public contracts, such as in the "Pregão", a bidding modality where the lower offer wins (Law No. 10,520/2002), and with the Public-Private Partnerships tenders (Law No. 11,079/2004), as a measure that aims to apply the efficiency principle in public contracts, in view that the single qualification (limited to the winning bid proposal) speeds the bidding procedure.
Another innovation brought by the Resolution, alongside the procedure's inversion, is that the public notice may establish the payment of "fees regarding the costs of the bid", in addition to the usual participation fees that ensure the access to technical data. However, the draft does not provide any further details on which fees and costs could origin such expense.
The public notice will also detail a simplified procedure for technical qualification of bidders with existing concession contracts in Brazil and who request qualification under the same modality as that in which they operate.
The Resolution on the new bidding procedure is under Public Consultation until January 28, 2015, and comments and suggestions to the draft should be included in a standard form provided by the ANP and sent by e-mail to email@example.com. The Public Hearing that will decide on the final draft will be held on February 5, 2015, in the ANP Central Office's auditorium in Rio de Janeiro.
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