March 12, 2013 / 2:40 PM / 7 years ago

Brazil says subsalt oil finds could triple total reserves

* Evaluated fields could hold 35 bln barrels

* Subsalt auction to be held Nov. 28

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 12 (Reuters) - Brazil’s giant subsalt oil and gas region could yield 35 billion barrels of recoverable oil equivalent, more than double Brazil’s existing reserves, an energy ministry representative said on Tuesday.

Analysts have said the total amount of oil in the New York State-sized subsalt region that was discovered in 2007 could be about 100 billion barrels of recoverable oil, or enough to provide all current U.S. oil needs for about 14 years.

“Subsalt discoveries that have been evaluated so far suggest a volume of recoverable oil more than double Brazil’s proven reserves,” said Marco Antonio Martins Almeida, secretary of oil and gas at Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy.

“That means we could have three times our reserves just with the volumes that have already been evaluated,” he said at a conference in Rio de Janeiro.

The BM-S-8 block operated by state-led oil company Petrobras in the Santos Basin alone likely has 1 billion barrels of recoverable oil, he said. Petrobras said it found good-quality oil in the Carcara well in the block, located in the Santos Basin, on Jan. 2.

Almeida said exploration rights to subsalt fields will be auctioned to private investors on Nov. 28 under a new regulatory framework for the industry in Brazil.

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