* Discovery may be one of largest in offshore Brazil-Barra
* Carcará prospect may be as big as giant Lula field -
* Barra Energia, Queiroz Galvao, Portugal's Galp are
By Jeb Blount and Sabrina Lorenzi
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 13 Brazil's Petrobras has
made "one of the most significant oil discoveries" in the
country's offshore sub-salt area, a partner in the discovery
said, raising expectations the state-led oil company has made
another giant find in a hot exploration region.
Petrobras, which operates the BM-S-8 block south of Rio de
Janeiro in the Santos Basin, said in a securities filing that
the group's Carcará prospect has shown 400 meters (1,312 feet)
of continuous and connected oil reserves with excellent porosity
"This 400 meter column is among the biggest ever found in
the subsalt," Joao Carlos de Luca, the chief executive of Barra
Energia, a partner in the discovery, told Reuters in a phone
"It's one of the most significant discoveries realized in
The Carcará strike is the latest in a region that is home to
several of the world's largest recent oil discoveries. The first
discovery announced in 2007 was in a nearby block owned by
Petrobras, BG Group Plc and Galp Energia SGPS,
and was the biggest discovery in the Americas in three decades.
Now known as the Lula and Cernambi fields, that discovery
holds an estimated 8.3 billion barrels of oil and natural gas,
enough to supply total demand in the United States, the world's
largest oil consumer, for more than 14 months.
"With an oil column that large, I wouldn't be surprised if
Carcará was another Lula," said Cleveland Jones, a petroleum
geologist and professor at the Brazilian Petroleum Institute at
the State University of Rio de Janeiro who has been developing
reserve estimates of the subsalt region.
"Since we started looking at the subsalt, we've been
predicting that we would have another field of that size out
there and this seems to fit the bill."
Petrobras owns 66 percent of the block and Portugal's Galp
owns 14 percent. De Luca's Barra Energia and Queiroz Galvao
Exploracao e Producao SA each own 10 percent.
The subsalt as a whole is a New York-state-sized area that
runs along the coast of Brazil near Rio de Janeiro and Sao
Paulo. The entire region, which extends throughout much of the
Campos and Santos oil basins, may contain as much as 100 billion
barrels of oil, Jones and his colleagues at the Brazilian
Petroleum Institute estimate.
That's enough to supply the United States for about 14
"The results obtained up to now have exceeded our initial
expectations and make a positive impact on our portfolio of
assets," Lincoln Rumenos Guardado, chief executive of Queiroz
Galvao Exploracao e Producao said in a statement.
Barra's De Luca warned that it was probably still too early
to estimate the total volume of oil in the Carcará prospect. De
Luca is a former president of Repsol in Brazil and is president
of the Brazilian Petroleum Institute, the country's main oil
The oil is of a light grade at 31 degrees on the American
Petroleum Institute (API) scale, Petrobras said.
The prospect, about 300 kilometers (188 miles) south of Rio
de Janeiro, was first announced in March. It sits in 2,027
meters of water.
The well where the oil was found has been drilled to a depth
of 6,213 meters by the Sevan Driller, a semisubmersible platform
owned by Norway's Sevan Drilling ASA and leased to Petrobras.
Petrobras began drilling the well on Dec. 15.