Brazilian state-controlled oil and gas multinational Petrobras announced that the deepwater offshore Guará field holds between 1.1 and 2 billion barrels of oil. In an official release Brazil's government managed oil company Petrobras said initial output may be as much as 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2012.
Guará is in the so-called pre-salt region and exploratory drilling has proved successful, said the release. Petrobras has spent billions of dollars to tap oil deposits off Brazil's coast including the Tupi field, the largest discovery in the Americas since Mexico's Cantarell in 1976.
Petrobras's plans to spend a record US$ 174.4 billion over the next five years to boost crude output by 53% and have Brazil among the top ten oil producers and exporters of the world.
Petrobras is the operator of Guará, with a 45% stake; Reading, UK-based BG has 30% and Repsol-YPF 25%. The companies announced they will use a 120,000 barrel-a-day floating production, storage and offloading vessel, known as an FPSO, to develop Guará.
Petrobras last year made a discovery in Guará, part of the BM-S-9 area that also includes the fields known as Carioca and Iguaçu. The company said April 16 that Iguaçu contained "significant" resources while declining to estimate its size.
"Guará is only one of the wells drilled in the BM-S-9 block (where the company also drilled Carioca, Iguaçu and is drilling Abaré), which means that the block's potential could be significantly higher," according to local oil market analysts.
"It is clear that the Santos Basin pre-salt will make a very material contribution to the production and cash flow of BG Group for many years to come," BG Chief Executive Officer Frank Chapman said in a statement.
Petrobras wants to increase output to about 3.66 million barrels a day by 2013, compared with 2.4 million barrels a day in 2008, the company has said. Repsol said the estimate of recoverable reserves at Guará is equivalent to between two and four years of Spain's oil and gas demand.
"The discoveries of the last few years represent significant contingent resources which will guarantee the growth in reserves and production in the coming years," Repsol said in a statement.
The pre-salt region runs 800 kilometers along the Brazilian coast and has oil deposits beneath a layer of salt resting as deep as 3.000 meters below the ocean surface and another 5.000 meters under the seabed.