Petrobras reports finds, delays strategic plan

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has informed the country's Agencia Nacional de Petroleo (ANP) of three oil discoveries, two of them offshore and one onshore.

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 14 -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has informed the country's Agencia Nacional de Petroleo (ANP) of three oil discoveries, two of them offshore and one onshore.

Petrobras said the onshore Block ES-T-418 is in the Espirito Santo basin, the offshore BC-60 is in the Campos basin, and the offshore BM-S-12 Block is in the Santos basin.

The Petrobras announcement coincided with local press reports saying the Brazilian firm will once again delay publication of its strategic plan.

Petrobras Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa told local business daily Valor Economico that the strategic plan is not ready yet because the company needed to include all of the subsalt fields.

That could cause revisions to prioritize the most important and promising projects, while others could be delayed, Barbassa said.

The plan, originally promised for September, covers investments for 2009-20. It is expected to include preliminary investment plans for development of the country's subsalt oil deposits.

In mid-September, Barbassa had said it would take another month for the firm to release the new strategic plan.

At the time, Barbassa declined to comment on a report in the Brasil Energia magazine that the company planned to announce $500 billion for exploration and production to 2020.

"I'm unaware of that number. We won't talk about speculation," he said, stating that Petrobras was holding to the numbers of its last strategic plan, which foresaw $112 billion in total investment to 2012.

Barbassa added that the firm is still evaluating which investment requirements are most pressing and will be included in the new strategic plan, which will be the first to include subsalt investment.

Also in mid-September, the Gazeta Mercantil reported that Brazil's subsalt oil reserves were beginning to produce what it called "gigantic numbers that go beyond the size of the existing deposits of the new petroleum frontier."

To develop that frontier, it said Petrobras has listed 234 big item orders—including platforms, tankers, drilling rigs, and other production equipment—along with 112,600 new jobs.

"The company also will need 4,000 underwater Christmas trees, the steel pressure gauge structures used in controlling oil production, as well as 441 turbines," the paper said.

"The turbines alone, for example, justify the construction of a factory in the country," Barbassa told the Gazeta. He also noted that, beginning this year, Petrobras will contract 70 large ships, 146 support vessels, and 16 FPSOs—with six already on order.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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