Brazilian energy giant Petrobras announced Friday that it has found light oil in deep waters off the nation's coast in a block jointly exploited with foreign firms.
A company statement said the discovery was verified by oil sampling in tests performed in reserves located at an approximate depth of 5,250 meters (17,000 feet).
The new well, named Cariocal Sela, is in block BM-S-9 of the so-called pre-salt oil reserves, off Brazil's southeast Atlantic coast beneath kilometers of ocean, bedrock, and hot salt-beds.
The National Petroleum Agency estimates that these huge pre-salt reserves, discovered in 2010, could hold more than 100 billion barrels of high-quality recoverable crude.
The Petrobras statement said 27 API oil -- petroleum liquid above 10 on the API scale is termed light oil -- was recovered at a depth of 2,149 meters in the well 270 kilometers (165 miles) from the coast of Sao Paulo state.
The company said a consortium formed by Petrobras, Britain's BG Group and Repsol Sinopec Brasil -- an alliance of Spain's Repsol and China's Sinopec -- would continue the activities and necessary investments for assessing the reserves found in the area, including the drilling of new wells.
Petrobras said Thursday it would begin exploiting two wells of light crude oil in deep waters in the south of the Santos basin, some 200 kilometers south of Sao Paulo state.
"Total recoverable volumes are estimated at 113.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) for the Bauna field and 83.1 million boe for the Piracaba field, both containing light oil in sandstone reservoirs located above the salt layer," it noted.
In 2010, Petrobras was the world's third biggest oil producer in terms of market value at $228 billion. By late last month it had fallen to 5th place, with its value down to $156 billion, according to the daily newspaper O Globo.