Libra Oilfield Reserves Estimated at 8B Barrels

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones Newswires), Sept. 13, 2010

An oilfield off the coast of Brazil could contain up to eight billion barrels of crude oil, far larger than initially estimated, which would make it one of the biggest oil fields in the Americas, according to a Brazilian government official.

"Libra is one of the most promising areas ever discovered and is estimated to hold reserves of up to eight billion barrels," Marco Antonio Almeida, the secretary for oil, gas and renewable fuels at Brazil's mines and energy ministry, said Monday at the Rio Oil and Gas Conference.

The Libra oil field in the Santos Basin is one of the latest in a series of giant discoveries made off the coast of southeastern Brazil. If confirmed, Libra could be even larger than the Tupi oilfield, the Western Hemisphere's largest discovery since Mexico's Cantarell in 1976. Tupi is estimated to hold between five billion and eight billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Almeida said the Libra oilfield would be the first area to be auctioned off under the proposed new rules for selling the rights to produce oil from the presalt areas. The government aims to hold an auction to sell the rights to Libra and possibly other fields in the first half of 2011, although that's subject to approval in Congress of the new rules, Almeida said.

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