Nov 16 (Reuters) - Brazil’s vast deep-water oil reserves have become a new frontier for energy exploration that could turn the South American nation into a major energy exporter.
Experts believe the country may have more than 50 billion barrels of oil that are buried as much as 7 kilometers (4.4 miles) below the ocean’s surface beneath a thick layer of salt in a region known as the subsalt.
For a graphic of Brazil's major oil discoveries click on r.reuters.com/vug35q
The following are Brazil’s biggest subsalt discoveries:
DISCOVERY DATE(S): 2006 (reserves announced in 2007)
RESERVE SIZE: 5 to 8 bln bbl
FIRST OIL TARGET: May 2009
DEVELOPMENT PLAN: First extended well test began in 2009 and will reach 100,000 bpd by 2012, though the timetable may vary depending on the productivity of wells.
More detailed production estimates not available.
RESERVE SIZE: 8 bln bbl
STAKEHOLDERS: Brazilian government
DETAILS: Petrobras made the discovery while exploring on behalf of energy regulator ANP for crude reserves that were used in Petrobras’ $42.5 billion oil-for-shares swap with the government. The swap was part of a broader share offer in September. [ID:nN02ETROBR]
The ANP has said the field could have as much as 15 billion barrels, but said the most likely scenario is for it to hold 8 billion.
The area may be offered in the first auction of subsalt fields under a new production sharing model, which would require congressional approval to change the Oil Law.
RESERVE SIZE: 4.5 bln bbl
STAKEHOLDERS: Brazil energy regulator ANP
DETAILS: The field is the largest of six used in the oil-for-shares swap. Petrobras will have rights to extract 3 billion barrels from the field as part of the swap, which includes a total of 5 billion barrels.
Officials have said the remaining Franco volumes will be put up for auction.
RESERVE SIZE: 3 to 4 bln bbl
STAKEHOLDERS: Petrobras, BG, Galp
DISCOVERY: Guara (Reserves announcement 2009)
RESERVE SIZE: 1 to 2 bln bbl
STAKEHOLDERS: Petrobras, BG, Repsol
DEVELOPMENT PLAN: Extended well test to begin 2010 with 30,000-bpd capacity
DISCOVERY: Parque das Baleias
RESERVE SIZE: 1.5 to 2 bln bbl
FIRST OIL TARGET: Production already existed in the area in fields above the subsalt region.
DEVELOPMENT PLAN: Area encompasses several fields including Jubarte, Baleia Franca, Baleia Azul and Cachalote. Petrobras began an extended subsalt well test in the Cachalote field in May 2010 with a floating platform that has a capacity to produce 100,000 bpd. That platform is slated to be linked to the Baleia Franca field this year.
The company will begin an extended well test with a 100,000-bpd capacity platform in the Baleia Azul field in 2012.
RESERVE SIZE: 380 mln bbl
DEVELOPMENT PLAN: N/A (Reporting by Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo newsrooms, Editing by )