NotiEn - A Newsletter on Energy Policy Issues in Latin America
August 26, 2010
Vol 1, Issue 10

A Review of Brazil Oil Reserves...

A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

Brazil has recently joined the club of major oil producers, following recent discoveries of significant reserves just off its coast in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  The newly discovered oil fields are all in the Santos Basin off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.  Brazil will not be able to access the oil any time soon because the reserves are in extreme depths.  Still, the oil could turn Brazil into one of the world's top 10 producers. 

 

The Tupi field was the first of four reserves announced by the state-run oil company Petrobras in 2007.  Authorities estimated that the deposit contained 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of oil and natural gas, enough to increase national oil reserves by more than half.  The deposit is under more than 7,000 feet of water and an additional 16,600 feet of sand rock and salt.

 

A second discovery, announced in April 2008, was even bigger, with reserves estimated at 33 billion barrels in the Carioca and Sugarloaf Mountain fields in the deep waters of the Atlantic.  And in May 2008, Petrobras announced the discovery of another mega field on the coast of São Paulo state.  Read more...  


Carlos Navarro - Editor

 

Oil Spills Bring Calls for Accountability - July 28, 2000   

After three damaging oil spills within ten days, environmentalists called for more accountability, especially from state-owned oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro (PETROBRAS). The latest rash of incidents followed a January spill from a broken PETROBRAS pipeline, which did extensive damage to the Guapimirim mangrove swamps in Guanabara Bay just north of Rio de Janeiro (see NotiSur, 2000-02-04). In the most serious of the latest spills, a pipeline at the Getulio Vargas Refinery in Araucaria burst and dumped more than 4 million liters of crude oil into the Barigui River, a tributary of the Iguacu River, on July 16. Officials called the spill the country's worst such disaster in the last 25 years and the worst oil spill ever to occur on a river.  

 

The Iguacu River runs through Parana state in southern Brazil to Foz do Iguacu, near the border with Argentina and Paraguay. Brazilian Foreign Ministry officials contacted their counterparts in Argentina and Paraguay, assuring them that Brazil was making "every effort to prevent the petroleum from crossing the border." Local residents told Globo TV that the smell of oil was overwhelming and made it difficult to breathe. Read more...  

 

In This Issue...
A Note From the Editor
Oil Spills Bring Calls for Accountability
Brazil Announces Discovery of Massive Oil Reserves
Petrobras Examining Potential New Oil-Field Discovery
Mexico, Brazil Propose Alliance Between State-run Oil Companies
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Brazil Announces Discovery of Massive Oil Reserves - November 30, 2007    

Brazil's state-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) announced the discovery of 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of oil and natural-gas reserves, the largest discovery worldwide in years. Petrobras studies of the offshore Tupi field and a new discovery nearby showed enough oil to increase national oil reserves by more than half and appeared to show enough petroleum to make Brazil one of the top 10 oil producers in the world, the company announced.  

 

One economic analysis showed that Petrobras was among the top five publicly traded companies in the US after the announcement. Eight billion barrels nearly matches Norway if the fields have 8 billion barrels to offer, the amount could boost the country's reserves by as much as 62%. The company's shares rose the most in more than eight years on Nov. 9. The estimate for Tupi was made after drilling a second test well, Petrobras said in a statement on its Web site. Tupi's total estimate would almost match that of Norway's 8.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, according to an estimate by BP Plc. Brazil already had 13 billion barrels of oil and natural-gas equivalent of proven reserves, according to Petrobras, based in Rio de Janeiro. The oil at Tupi, in the offshore Santos Basin, is a light grade, more valuable and cheaper to refine than the heavy crude that dominates Brazilian output. Read more... 

Petrobras Examining Potential New Oil-Field Discovery - May 02, 2008    

Brazil's state-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) may have discovered another site of massive offshore oil reserves just months after it announced the largest petroleum discovery in years (see NotiSur, 2007-11-30). If tests show that the offshore deposit in the Espirito Santo field in the Atlantic Ocean contains as much as early reports claimed, it would be the world's third-largest reserve and the world's biggest discovery in decades.

 

Carioca four times bigger than Tupi? In the final months of 2007, Petrobras announced the discovery of 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of oil and natural-gas reserves at the offshore Tupi field. The discovery had the potential to make Brazil one of the top 10 oil producers in the world, the company said. Press reports soon followed saying an even bigger field might be nearby.  

 

Petrobras also announced a blockbuster find of natural gas in February in an Atlantic Ocean field nicknamed Jupiter. If proven, the oil in the exploration area called both Carioca and Sugarloaf Mountain by analysts would also be four to five times larger than the Tupi oil field. The deep-sea find by Petrobras could yield 33 billion barrels in reserves. Further tests are required to assess the scale of the find, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, but analysts say it could have significant implications. The US Energy Department says Brazil's existing proven oil reserves total 11.8 billion barrels, while the US holds 21.8 billion.  Read more... 

 

Mexico, Brazil Propose Alliance Between State-run Oil Companies - August 26, 2009       

In recent years, Brazil and Mexico have discussed forming a full alliance between their state-run petroleum companies. But now it seems like the two countries are ready to move beyond just talk and minor cooperation accords and develop a more permanent relationship between PEMEX and Petrobras. Presidents Felipe Calderon and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva discussed creating joint opportunities for the two companies during Calderon's visit to Brazil in mid-August. The proposal to cooperate in the energy sector is the centerpiece of a major trade and economic agreement that Brazil and Mexico are discussing.

 

Mexican Energy Secretary Georgina Kessel, who accompanied Calderon to Brazil, said the two countries discussed increased cooperation in refining, petrochemical, exploration, and production. While the alliance would provide benefits for both PEMEX and Petrobras, the Mexican company stands to gain the most from a long-term cooperation scheme with its Brazilian counterpart. The two companies have already entered into some technical-cooperation agreements', including one in which Petrobras is offering PEMEX assistance with deep-sea drilling (see SourceMex, 2007-03-07). This need to access deep-sea reserves is partly behind Calderon's urgency to expand the relationship between PEMEX and Petrobras. "I am very interested in concluding a cooperation agreement as soon as possible," Calderon said in a press conference in Rio de Janeiro". We are looking not only for a commitment to cooperate between Petrobras and PEMEX, but also between Brazil and Mexico so we can expand the two countries' productive capacities. Read more... 

 

LA-ENERGAIA
Energy Policy, Regulation and Dialogue in Latin America

 

NotiEn is an original newsletter with breaking news that analyzes and digests relevant and contemporary information in energy, alternative energy and energy policies in Latin America. A complimentary service provided by the University of New Mexico as part of LA-ENERGAIA Project funded by the US TICFIA Program