International Energy Agency Sees Brazil Pre-Salt Oil Findingd as Promising

Petrobras's Tupi oil field The International Energy Agency in its just-released monthly report describes the Brazilian pre-salt petroleum reserves as the most attractive oil finding made in recent times. The agency has also underscored that new data on the pre-salt is required, so that concerns with the future supply of the product may be ruled out.

The IEA has also revised the oil supply in Brazil down by 25,000 barrels per day in 2009 and by 45,000 barrels per day in 2010. The subtraction of those figures would leave the total supply in the country at 2.51 million barrels per day this year and 2.75 million barrels per day next year.

The report also claims that it would take an additional production of more than 3.5 million barrels worldwide to make up for the depleting of reserves currently being tapped.

The agency has also called attention to discoveries made outside of the scope of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which help to counter the decreasing production in other countries.

Gas Import

It will take a long time before Brazil become self-sufficient in production of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), cooking gas, said Petrobras president José Sergio Gabrielli. "It is a physical-chemical question. It is not possible for us to demand from oil more than it can give us. Therefore, I see no chance of becoming self-sufficient in the production of LPG, even in the long run," he said.

Projections by the president at Petrobras were made based on an estimate of growth of consumption of LPG of around 1.7% a year up to 2020, while residential natural gas should grow 5.4%.

"There should be natural replacement of LPG for natural gas, mainly in the main urban areas of the country, but it will still not be possible for us to produce enough for our own consumption," he said.

Gabrielli pointed out that Petrobras is investing US$ 50 billion in the construction of five new refineries and that, except for the Petrochemical Hub of Rio de Janeiro (Comperj), all should produce LPG, though at insufficient volume for the domestic market.

To the president of the Gas Distributor Union (Sindigas), Sérgio Bandeira de Mello, there are more optimistic expectations regarding LPG production. He does not believe that consumption of gas should grow enough to exceed 16 million tons/year in the near future, and that is the estimated Brazilian production of gas by 2030, as estimated by the Energy Researh Company (EPE).

"In our point of view, we will become self-sufficient and will become exporters of LPG, as we do not believe that demand should grow at that rate," he said.

Bandeira de Mello added that the productive capacity of the domestic market is currently 6 million tons/year, for consumption of 6.4 million tons a year, a volume that should leap to 9 million tons in 2020, growth of 40%.

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