September 9, 2009 / 12:51 AM / in 10 years

Test confirms subsalt productivity-Petrobras

(Recasts throughout, adds background on Brazil oil)

SAO PAULO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PBR.N) on Tuesday said the offshore Guara oil field in the subsalt province holds 1 billion to 2 billion barrels of light oil and natural gas, confirming additional reserves in Brazil’s deep-sea energy reserves.

The discovery follows the 2007 discovery of the massive 5 billion to 8 billion barrel Tupi field, which put Brazil on the map as a possible oil exporter.

Petrobras said in a securities filing that the field has “very high productivity” with potential to produce up to 50,000 barrels per day. It reported a current well flow test of 7,000 barrels per day.

The test result indicates that the Guara area should be prioritized in the development of subsalt fields in the Santos Basin, the company’s filing said.

Recent subsalt oil discoveries have the potential to catapult Brazil into the higher ranks of global oil exporters — but the subsalt locations of the reserves have posed technical difficulties in extracting the commodity.

Last week, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva proposed an overhaul of the South American nation’s oil regulations that would make Petrobras the sole operator of the massive new reserves.

Petrobras has a 45 percent stake and is the operator of block BM-S-9, where the ultra-deep water Carioca and Guara prospects are located, while BG Group BG.L holds 30 percent and Repsol (REP.MC) 25 percent of the rights to the block. (Reporting by Luciana Lopez and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Gary Hill)

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