* Could be world's biggest oil strike of 2013
* Area may be billion-barrel-plus field, Reuters said Sept.
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 3 Brazilian officials plan
to announce the discovery of a gigantic offshore oil area near
Sergipe state on Oct. 23, a find that could be the country's
biggest outside the massive "subsalt" area off its southern
coast, the state government said.
Brazil's Energy and Mines minister, Edison Lobão, will
"officially announce the discovery" during a visit to the state
capital Aracaju, a press spokesman for acting governor Jackson
Barreto told Reuters on Thursday.
A drilling campaign by state-run oil company Petroleo
Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, and its Indian
partner IBV Brasil has shown that their SEAL-11 block and
adjoining areas about 100 kilometers (62 miles) off the coast
contain more than 1 billion barrels of oil, Reuters reported on
That is more than enough to supply all oil needs in the
United States, the world's largest petroleum consumer, for
nearly two months. If the find is as large as some expect, it
would be the first major offshore discovery outside of the
so-called subsalt region 1,500 kilometers to the south.
The subsalt is a name for oil reserves trapped by a layer of
salt deep beneath the seabed in the Campos and Santos offshore
basins, south and east of Rio de Janeiro.
"Lobão accepted the governor's invitation to travel to
Aracaju on Oct. 23," the Sergipe government said in a statement.
"On that day, according to the governor, the largest oil
discovery in 2013 will be announced officially."
Brazil's energy ministry confirmed that Lobão is scheduled
to go to Aracaju on Oct. 23. It declined to give a reason for
Petrobras declined to confirm the size of the find. But
Chief Executive Maria das Graças Foster called it "a beautiful
discovery" at a news conference on Sept. 27. She said the
company planned to produce at least 100,000 barrels a day from
deepwater offshore fields in Sergipe starting in 2018.
Petrobras, the operator of SEAL-11, owns 60 percent of the
block and IBV owns the rest. IBV is a 50-50 joint venture
between India's Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and
Videocon Industries Ltd.
Industry and government sources previously told Reuters that
the SEAL-11 block and adjacent areas may hold more than 3
billion barrels of oil in place, a term that includes
unrecoverable resources as well as those that can be
economically produced. That amount could be enough to allow
production of about 1 billion barrels according to Brazilian
industry sources, based on Brazilian recovery rates of about a
third of oil in place.
Barreto is acting governor in Sergipe during the medical
leave of the elected governor Marcelo Deda.
(Editing by Todd Benson and Matthew Lewis)