Environment

New “pre-salt” oil reserves on the Amazon coast excite markets

Researchers claim to have found new deepwater oil reserves off Brazil's northern coast. However, environmental agents say coral reefs could be destroyed by oil extraction activities

Petrobras oil rig along the Brazilian coast. Photo: Petrobras/ABr
Petrobras oil rig along the Brazilian coast. Photo: Petrobras/ABr

Over the years, Brazil’s state-controlled oil major Petrobras has worked on technology to ensure the country’s self-sufficiency with regard to its oil reserves. The eureka moment came in 2006, when the company announced the existence of vast deepwater crude oil reserves off the coast of Rio de Janeiro — the so-called “pre-salt” oilfields.

Fifteen years later, there are indications of new massive pre-salt oil reserves in Brazil’s North region, near the coast of Amazonian states Amapá, Maranhão, and Pará. Early estimates suggest these fields could contain the equivalent of between 20 and 30 billion barrels.

The discovery...

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