Proven reserves down 1.5 % in 2009 at Petrobras

Jan 12, 2010 01:00 AM

Brazilian state-controlled energy giant Petrobras said its proven reserves of crude and natural gas fell by 1.5 % last year to 14.87 bn barrels of oil equivalent, despite massive offshore finds over the 12-month period.
The drop in reserves compared to 2008 was the result of excluding deposits Petrobras discovered in Bolivia, which nationalized its hydrocarbons reserves in 2006 and forced foreign firms to accept minority partnerships with state-owned energy company YPFB.

The total includes just 182 mm barrels from Brazil's "pre-salt" layer, so-named because the tens of billions of barrels of high-quality crude it may contain are located deep below the ocean floor under an unstable layer of salt. Those deposits -- still in the exploration and evaluation phase -- could translate into a nearly six-fold increase in Brazil's current proven reserves and transform the South American nation into a major oil power, but accessing them will be very costly and pose an enormous technical challenge.
"The pre-salt discoveries in the Santos basin are under evaluation and therefore are not contributing to the 2009 results," the company said.

While the company's proven reserves stood at 14.87 bn barrels of oil equivalent under the criteria of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, they rose 9 % to 12.14 bn barrels based on the US Securities and Exchange Commission's guidelines. Petrobras's proven domestic reserves of oil and natural came in at 14.17 bn boe under the SPE's criteria.
The company extracted 872 mm barrels of oil equivalent from its areas of operation last year and added 652 mm new barrels of proven reserves, giving Petrobras a reserve replacement rate of just under 75 %. The company's reserves-to-production ratio, which measures how long proven oil and natural gas reserves will last at the current rate of extraction, was 17 years.

Also, Brazilian head of state Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Petrobras refinery.
Located in the north-eastern state of Maranhao, the facility will be the biggest in Latin America and be capable of refining 600,000 bpd once it is fully functioning in 2015. The refinery will produce diesel fuel, aviation fuel, naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas, coke and bunker fuel, according to Petrobras's plans. The facility, to be built at a cost of roughly reais 40 bn ($ 22.6 bn), will be capable of processing a third of Petrobras's current crude production.

In his speech, Lula said the "Premium 1" refinery will mark "a new stage" in the history of Maranhao state, one of Brazil's poorest.
The refinery will be located in the town of Bacabeira and be linked by pipeline to a new terminal in the port city of São Luis, 60 km (37 miles) away. Close to 26,000 direct jobs and 132,000 direct jobs are to be created in the construction phase, while another 1,500 people will be employed at the refinery once it begins operating, according to Petrobras.

Petrobras currently operates 11 refineries in Brazil and 4 in other countries, while 5 more are under construction. At present, the company processes 1.9 mm bpd, or less than its daily crude production of 2 mm barrels. Petrobras, an integrated energy company and a global leader in deepwater oil exploration and production, operates in 27 countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.
Shares of Petrobras, Brazil's largest corporation, trade on the Sao Paulo, New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires stock exchanges, but the Brazilian government retains control through a golden share.

Source / EFE
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