Brazilian state controlled oil multinational Petrobras informed that the existence of large reserves of natural and condensed gas (very light oil) has been proved in the pre-salt layer (deep layer of rock) in Santos Basin. According to the organization, the main well, which is in bloc BM-S-24, is 290 kilometers (180 miles) away from the coast of Rio de Janeiro.
The discovery in the area, named Jupiter, was communicated to the National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuel Agency (ANP) on Monday, January 21. Petrobras informed that there are still no estimates about the Jupiter reserves, but the area may have similar dimensions to Tupi, which had been announced at the end of last year as one of the main oil discoveries in the country.
"This field will help us reach independence in the sector," stated the minister of Mines and Energy, Edison Lobão, in Brasília. "In terms of gas, there are gigantic proportions."
According to Petrobras, the existence of gas in a stretch of 120 meters of rock has been confirmed, at a depth of 7,400 meters (24,278 feet), being 2,187 meters (7,175) of water and 5,252 meters (17,231) of rock.
The statement also adds that the consortium that explores Jupiter, made up of Petrobras and Galp Energia, from Portugal, is going to continue investigating the dimensions of the new natural and condensed gas reserves. An evaluation plan of the discovery is under elaboration and, as soon as it has been concluded, it will be forwarded to the ANP.
The Exploration and Production director at the state-owned company, Guilherme Estrella, said that the reserves may guarantee self-sufficiency in gas. "It may, but we still have to do the tests. Anyway, it is unlikely that it will not to be confirmed.
"It is not our first well in the area, we have already drilled others and they have undergone tests and answered very well. It all shows that this may be a large deposit and, if that is true, it will contribute for Brazil to reach self-sufficiency." The possibility of there also being a large volume of oil has also not been discarded.
The equipment studying the area had to be removed, for security reasons, even before reaching the bottom of the reserves. Samples of the product were sent to the Petrobras Research Center (Cenpes), for quality analysis.
Now, said the director, Petrobras is analyzing the technical and financial conditions for extraction and transport of the gas. Among the options discussed is the transformation of the product into liquefied natural gas. Another team is studying the return of the equipment to the site to execute new exploration, which should take place up to the end of the year.
Still according to Estrella, there are great expectations for new discoveries at Santos Basin, as most of the 15 fields drilled presented successful results in the tests executed. He said he considers it premature to compare the production capacity of Jupiter and Tupi, but added that there are similarities between their dimensions.