The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, says that while his government will continue promoting the use of "clean" energy sources such as ethanol and bio-diesel, he also wants Brazilian government-controlled oil and gas multinational Petrobras to press ahead in the search for additional crude.
"The more petroleum, the better, but that doesn't mean we stop investing in bio-diesel and ethanol, because they are two extraordinary energy sources to decontaminate the planet and generate millions of jobs," LulaÂ said in his weekly radio address, Breakfast with the President.
He said he was confident Petrobras will discover additional large deposits of oil and gas, making Brazil "ever stronger, ever richer" and providing the nation's 191 million people with "a better life."
The president said that burgeoning oil revenue would create "extraordinary potential" to ease poverty and improve education.
"It's almost the second independence of Brazil," Lula said, the same phrase he used last Friday at a ceremony in Rio de Janeiro to mark the beginning of test drilling at Tupi, a new offshore field estimated to contain 5-8 billion barrels of recoverable oil equivalent.
Tupi, located in the Santos Basin some 290 kilometers off the coast of the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, is the first field Petrobras has begun to develop in the 800-kilometer-long and 200-kilometer-wide "pre-salt" region.
That region – which also includes the even larger Sugar Loaf field – is so-named because the up to 80 billion barrels of recoverable light crude it is estimated to contain are located under a thick layer of salt far beneath the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.
If the most optimistic forecasts prove correct, Brazil would almost certainly become a major oil exporter.
Brazil is already the world's leading producer and exporter of sugar-based ethanol and is ramping up to produce bio-diesel.
Petrobras disclosed that it has risen from the twentieth to the fourth place in the global ranking of most respected companies in the world, according to a study by the Reputation Institute (RI), a research company from Nova York.
According to the Brazilian state-controlled company, the list includes 200 companies and has been released each year since 2006.
Petrobras was only behind the Italian Ferrero, the Swedish Ikea and the North American Johnson & Johnson, and ahead of companies like Fedex, Google, Microsoft, 3M, Honda, Philips, General Electric and Disney. Among the energy companies, the Brazilian organization was in the first place, according to a company press statement.