Brazil Minister, Petrobras CEO Mull Changes to Oil Laws

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones Newswires), Apr. 29, 2009

Brazil's mines and energy minister and the CEO of state-run oil company Petrobras (PBR) were meeting Wednesday to discuss possible changes to the country's oil laws, the local Estado news agency reported.

Minister Edison Lobao and Petrobras' Jose Sergio Gabrielli met with technical teams to evaluate proposals aimed at developing Brazil's promising subsalt oil reserves, Estado said.

Petrobras will pump the first subsalt oil from the Tupi field Friday. In November 2007, the Santos Basin field was estimated to hold recoverable reserves of between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is scheduled to commemorate the event during a ceremony on a platform located at the field.

When asked whether Lula will take advantage of the event to announce changes to Brazil's oil laws, Gabrielli told reporters, "that doesn't depend on me."

Last year, Lula formed a working group to evaluate changes to Brazil's oil laws that would give the government a greater take from development of massive deepwater oil deposits discovered off the country's coast. Lula has pledged to use the newfound oil wealth to ease Brazil's crushing poverty and improve the education system.  

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