Just when Brazil developed ethanol from sugar to make themselves independent of foreign petroleum, they go and strike oil, BusinessWeek reports.
Petrobras announced Nov. 8 it has found between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels of light oil and gas at the Tupi field, 155 miles offshore southern Brazil in an area it shares with Britain’s BG Group and Portugal’s Galp Energy. Tupi is the world’s biggest oil find since a 12 billion-barrel Kazakh field was discovered in 2000, and the largest ever in deep waters. Perhaps more important, Petrobras believes Tupi may be Brazil’s first of several new “elephants,” an industry term for outsize fields of more than 1 billion barrels.
Good news for HAL of course, as is all deepwater, high pressure, high-temperature stuff. The find’s depth is quite interesting:
For one, the oil lies some 4.5 miles beneath the ocean’s surface. To reach it, Petrobras will have to run lines through 7,000 feet of water and then drill up to 17,000 feet through sand, rock, and a massive salt layer.
For an idea of scale, when I was teaching in the Gulf of Mexico, I was using examples of wells only 2,000 feet below sea level, only going for perhaps three to four thousand feet into the seabed.
The new Chevron GOM field found in June is deeper into the sea floor and under more water, but there’s less political risk drilling in a country that doesn’t have a national oil company. It will be interesting to see how Brazil utilizes that oil field.