Brazil's state oil giant Petrobras said on Thursday that it had made four "important" new oil finds that
should boost its oil reserves
by about 1.4 percent. Petrobras said the discoveries in Brazil's northeast region would eventually increase reserves by more than 130 million barrels, or 1.4 percent. Brazil's current reserves are 9.278 billion barrels. The finds were made in four mature fields where production was thought to be declining.
"In these basins, with infrastructure already installed and paid off, the costs are low and the deposits are quickly developed," Petrobras said in a statement. The finds were made in one offshore block in the Sergipe-Alagoas basin and three onshore blocks in the Espirito Santos, Reconcavo Baiano and Potiguar basins. Analysts said the finds were not that significant in relation to total reserves, but were a good sign for the increasing number of oil companies exploring Brazil for oil.
"The finds announced today represent a positive sign for future prospecting in Brazil," said Luiz Otavio, an oil analyst at Fator Doria-Atherino brokerage. Petrobras said the most important find was in the Sergipe-Alagoas basin where a potential 80 million barrels of oil were discovered.
"This find, one of the biggest in the area in the last 30 years, will give new life to the production curve of this basin, which had already leveled off," Petrobras said in a statement.
Oil exploration and production were opened to private competition in 1997, breaking Petrobras' monopoly on the industry. Just last month, Brazil sold a third round of E&P licenses to a slew of multinational oil firms. Brazil currently produces 1.338 million barrels per day, but still imports about one-fifth of the oil it consumes. Latin America's biggest country hopes to become self-sufficient in oil production by 2005. - (Reuters)