By Andrei Khalip
RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Shares of Brazil's state oil company
Petrobras soared on Thursday after it announced recoverable reserves at the
light oil Tupi field between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels of oil and
gas, making it the biggest in Brazil.
Petrobras stock (PETR4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research)(PBR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) rallied over 6 percent in early trade
to 74.8 reais. Shares of Petrobras partners in the project, BG Group (BG.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
and Portugal's Galp (GALP.LS: Quote, Profile, Research) also jumped.
The oil discovered in the subsalt cluster at the field is 28 API grade,
light for Brazil. The field is in the offshore Santos basin.
"It's a giant one, without a hint of doubt. It's about twice the size
of Roncador, Brazil's biggest discovery so far," said Caio Carvalhao,
research associate with Cambridge Energy Research Association in Rio de
Janeiro. Roncador has around 3 billion barrels of recoverable heavy oil
Brazil's total proven reserves are around 12 billion barrels, mostly
heavy oil. Petrobras produces around 1.8 million barrels of oil per day,
meeting Brazil's gross petroleum needs. But it still needs to import some
light crude to mix with local heavy crudes for refining.
Petrobras also said it made a regional evaluation of subsalt potential
in southern and southeastern basins and the outlook was very promising.
"If confirmed, the recoverable volumes of oil and gas will lift
significantly the quantity of existing oil in Brazilian basins, putting
Brazil among the countries with big reserves of oil and gas," the company
said in a statement.
It said the wells drilled to subsalt layers in the Espirito Santo,
Santos and Campos basins have until now shown high productivity.
Petrobras partner in Tupi, BG, said in February the field could contain
between 1.7 billion and 10 billion barrels of in-place reserves. BG has a
25 percent stake in the Tupi project and Portugal's Petrogal has 10
BG stocks in London soared 5.27 percent and Galp stocks in Lisbon were
4.7 percent higher.
Most analysts have long had a 'buy' recommendation for Petrobras stocks
given its good production growth prospects and previous estimates of the
likelihood of big Tupi reserves.
Despite a lackluster output growth so far this year, three big rigs
with a total 460,000 bpd capacity are due for start-up this month after
delays and three more should go on-stream next year.
The announced Tupi reserve estimate is above expectations by most
sector analysts who said recoverable reserves in the area should make up
around 30 percent of in-place.
Geologists have long been talking of possible large reserves in the
subsalt cluster underneath Brazil's main production base in the offshore
Campos basin and in the promising Santos basin.
(Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by John Picinich)