Carioca No Sing-Along: Petrobras Makes Discovery That Dwarfs Tupi

"It could be the world's biggest oil discovery in 30 years," said Brazil National Petroleum Agency (ANP) General Director Haroldo Lima. The palpable excitement surrounding ANP's April 14 response followed Lima as reporters clamored to find out more about the 33 billion boe in "Carioca."

Carioca, the name given to the discovery by Lima, contains what he said is five times the amount of the recently discovered Tupi. Carioca is located in the Santos basin offshore the state of Rio de Janeiro, west of Tupi in the BM-S-9 exploration block. Lima said the find should prove to be the world's third-largest oil deposit.

Estado newswire later said that Lima had in fact been referring to the Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf) field. Dow Jones reported that both names could be referring to the same oil reserve.

"If this were to be confirmed, it would be the biggest discovery ever made in the world," said Lima. Reports indicate that Lima's claims are based solely on reports. Lima would not comment as to whether the find represents in-place or recoverable oil.

Dow Jones reported that production from the subsalt area could be "very challenging and expensive" because it lies in 2,000 meters of water, below 5,000 meters of rock, sand and salt.

In November 2007, Petrobras stated that Tupi production could potentially reach 1 million bbl/d, but that the peak output would not arrive for another five to seven years. Oil and gas reserves at Tupi are estimated to be between 5 billion and 8 billion boe.

If the findings are confirmed, Brazil could surpass Nigeria, among others, as holding the most reserves.

Petrobras stated that more data would be needed to confirm the discovery. Petrobras, Repsol-YPF and BG Group collaborated in the discovery.

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