Wall Street Journal - 9 Dec 09

Prof. Robert B. Laughlin
Department of Physics
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

(Copied 13 Jan 10)

Brazil Petrobras: Iara Formation Tests Confirm Oil Estimates

December 9, 2009

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones)--Brazilian state-run energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR) said it has completed well formation tests at the Iara prospect, confirming recoverable reserves of 3 billion-4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

"The tests proved the area's exploratory potential," Petrobras said in a regulatory filing Tuesday.

Petrobras first announced the Iara estimate in September 2008. The field holds light crude rated at 28 degrees on the American Petroleum Institute scale.

The Brazilian national oil company is lead operator of the BM-S-11 block containing Iara, while BG Group PLC (BG.LN) holds a 25% share and Galp Energia (GALP.LB) has a 10% stake.

The 1-BRSA-618-RJS formation well was drilled at a water depth of 2,230 meters about 230 kilometers off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. A second well will be drilled at Iara in 2010, Petrobras said.

Iara is a sister field to the massive Tupi discovery made in November 2007. Tupi lies in a separate section of the same BM-S-11 block to the west of Iara.

Tupi holds estimated recoverable reserves of 5 billion-8 billion barrels of oil equivalent, the largest oil find in the Western Hemisphere in more than 30 years. Iara and Tupi are part of the so-called subsalt cluster of discoveries offshore Brazil.

The subsalt finds were made under a thick layer of salt in the Santos Basin off the coast of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states. The oil lies under more than 2,000 meters of water and a further 5,000 meters under sand, rock and a shifting layer of salt.