Agence France-Presse

Shell, Total, Chinese firms win Brazil oil field auction amid clashes in Rio (PHOTOS)

Activists clash with security forces in front of the hotel where Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP) will auction drilling rights to one of the world's largest offshore oil discoveries, in Barra de Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 21, 2013. Bidding on the coveted Libra oil field - which contains an estimated eight to 12 billion barrels of recoverable crude - opens Monday with 11 firms vying for a share of production.

SAO PAULO, Brazil — A consortium including Shell, Total, two firms from China won the auction for an offshore oil field, according to the Brazilian government.

The auction, held amid protests and heightened security, saw Shell and Total win a 20 percent stake in the oil field and the Chinese firms win 10 percent each, according to the Associated Press.

The rules of offshore auctions dictate that Petrobras must hold a minimum 30 percent stake in oil fields and be the sole operator. In this case, Petrobras retained 40 percent stake.

In a statement, Shell said, "The consortium will work together in an integrated fashion to support Petrobras, the most experienced operator in the Brazilian pre-salt, and will incorporate each company’s deep water skills, people and technology for the success of the venture."

The contract, expected to be signed in November, lasts for 35 years.

Around 1,100 Brazilian troops were deployed in the west end of Rio de Janeiro ahead of the auction. Security forces clashed with protesters, firing tear gas to disperse crowds on the streets of Rio.

Unions representing oil workers from Petrobras were among those protesting the partial sale of Brazil's oil reserves. They accuse the government of "selling off" the country's riches.

The oil field up for sale — named Libra — holds an estimated eight billion to 12 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to Brazil's oil regulator. Such a projection could potentially double the nation's oil reserves.

Workers from more than 40 oil platforms and major refineries have been on strike since last Thursday, protesting the auction.

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Members of the Black Bloc, which has been present at the other protests that have swept across Brazil, were seen among the crowd that gathered at the auction site.

The anarchist group has also been accused of destroying vehicles during clashes with troops.

Brazilian troops fired back at the crowd with rubber bullets and tear gas.

At least two protesters and a police officer have been injured during the clashes so far.

More from GlobalPost: Is Brazil lost at sea?

The area around Hotel Windsor was cordoned off for the duration of the auction, according to RT, forcing residents of Rio to take a detour along the beach to get to work.

Two naval ships were also reportedly anchored in front of the hotel.

Eleven international oil companies took part in the auction, fewer than the Brazilian government was hoping to attract.

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