Friday, November 09, 2007

Massive offshore oil discovery found

Brazil joined the ranks of the world's major exporters with the discovery that the "ultra-deep" Tupi field off the coast of Rio de Janeiro could hold as much as 8 billion barrels of recoverable light crude. This is about 16 times larger than Hibernia was thought to be when Hibernia was first discovered.

Initial production should exceed 100,000 barrels daily but full-scale extraction is unlikely until 2013 and will likely be very expensive to develop.

The Tupi field lies under 2400m of water, almost 3300m of sand and rocks, and then another 2,200m thick layer of salt. The company drilled test wells that lie under 2300m of water, 283km south of Rio de Janeiro.

This compares to the Grand Banks (Hibernia) where the water depth runs about 80-110m and the Orphan Basin where the water depth ranges to 2500m.

Media reports on the Tupi field are available here and here. The story of a previous large discovery can be found here.

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