Brazil Energy Ministry: Existing Oil Contracts to Be Upheld

Dow Jones Newswires

NEW YORK (Dow Jones Newswires), November 14, 2008

Brazil's Mines and Energy minister said Thursday that a group working on new regulations for oil exploration and production will "religiously" respect current oil contracts.

The group, made of top Brazilian bureaucrats and ministers, is expected to hand its suggestions to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva within the next few weeks, Minister Edison Lobao told an audience of investors and business people in New York.

However, "if we need to change Brazilian laws, we will do so," Lobao said.

Brazil is grappling with new laws on how to exploit huge deep-water oil reserves recently discovered along the Southeast coast.

Lobao estimated the deep-water reserves to be between 50 billion to 150 billion barrels. Last week, a top official at the national oil agency estimated the reserves at between 50 billion and 80 billion barrels.

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