On Friday, state owned Petrobras officially announced that Brazil is self-sufficient in petroleum production as it inaugurated and put into operation a new oil rig, the P-50, in the presence of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The P-50 is now the biggest oil rig in operation in Brazil, with a production capacity of 180,000 barrels per day, which works out to about 11% of total domestic production.
It is located in the Albacora East oil field in the Campos basin (an area off the coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro). Around 85% of Brazilian domestic production of oil is in the Campos basin.
Last month, average total domestic production at Petrobras was 1.75 million barrels per day.
With the P-50 in operation, total production will rise to slightly over 1.90 million barrels per day. Domestic demand in Brazil is about 1.80 million barrels per day.
According to the president of Petrobrás, José Sérgio Gabrielli, with the new P-50 platform in operation, Brazil country now produces enough petroleum to cover domestic demand. And self-sufficiency means being less vulnerable to external pressure.
Gabrielli was quick to point out that with petroleum at over US$ 70 a barrel, "Our biggest victory is to reach self-sufficiency at a moment when oil is scarce worldwide and the margin between production and consumption is very fragile. All of which makes prices volatile."
However, he went on to say that it must be kept in mind that there was a diffence between being self-sufficient and pricing policies. According to Gabrielli, there will not be any significant price changes in gas at the pump.
"What we can do is control price fluctuations," he explained. "And, of course, we have supply ensured even if there is some kind of market collapse in other parts of the world. Self-sufficiency is good for the country’s image. And it consolidates the position of Petrobras as one of the world’s great oil companies."