Brazilian government-controlled oil giant Petrobras confirmed this week the existence of light crude and natural gas deposits in the Santos Basin, 280 kilometers offshore Rio do Janeiro, located under a thick layer of salt at a depth of 2.140 meters.
The discovery had already been announced by the company in July, but was confirmed this week following a test drill, proving that the oil is of good quality and the volume significant.
The discovery is of great significance as it is the first time an oil company discovers oil and gas below a layer of salt, which, according to the assessment of specialists, may open a "new exploration frontier".
The Petrobras release said the test drilling showed a flow of 4,900 barrels of oil and 150,000 cubic meters of natural gas per day. The block is operated by Petrobras (65%) in a consortium with British Gas (25%) and Petrogal from Portugal (10%).
The Santos basin crude is API 30 quality, which is far lighter, and of greater value, than the heavy oil extracted from Brazil’s main offshore Campos basin from where almost 80% of Petrobras production comes.
The discovery is within the scope of the state-owned company’s priority of investing in exploration and production in areas with a potential for discovery of light oil and natural gas, included in the company’s Business Plan, which forecasts investment of over 80 billion US dollars between 2007 and 2011, added the official release.
Petrobras, with a majority stake from the Brazilian government also has shares in the stock exchanges of Sao Paulo, New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires.
Petrobras ranks 12 among world oil and gas companies with private participation, has an estimated production of 1.9 million bpd and is considered a leader in deep sea exploration and production technology.