The Brazilian government has started deploying troops on the streets of Rio de Janeiro with 1,100 soldiers sealing off the seafront hotel, where the auction of the massive offshore Libra field will take place on October 21.
After violent demonstrations last week, President Dilma Rousseff ordered enhanced security for the auction as a preventative measure.
Last week, oil workers launched a strike against the Libra auction, causing production disruptions across 40 oil platforms and refineries.
It is rumored that eleven international oil companies are interested in the oilfield, with nine already having paid the mandated registration fee.
“We’re taking over this immense wealth that lies under the sea and on land. It is not available to us if it stays where it is,” Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao told AFP news agency.
On social media sites, thousands of people have already stated an intention t0 stage protests near the Windsor hotel. The army has said the area in question will be cordoned off securely.
The Libra discovery potentially doubles Brazil’s known oil reserves as the government expects production to peak at 1.4 million barrels a day in the next ten years.
The Libra field has estimated recoverable oil reserves of between 8-12 billion barrels, according to Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency.