Petrobras stalls US Gulf operations

Brazil’s state-run Petrobras will delay exploration of some blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, so as to give priority to Brazil’s sub-salt projects.

Jorge Luiz Zelada, Petrobras International director, however, said there would be no cancelation of any international project, nor the return of blocks in the Gulf of Mexico to switch investment to sub-salt deposits. “Our international investments are maintained at the same level as last year,” he said. Petrobras plans to spend $15.9 billion in the international area, said a Dow Jones Newswire. Some 79% will be set aside for exploration and production, 8% in gas and energy, 7% in refining and petrochemicals and 5% in distribution, the Estado news agency reported today. The diversion of a rig to drill in Tupi field in the Santos basin, off the coast of Sao Paulo State, would cause the main delay of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. That rig originally was intended to drill in deep waters off Mexico. Zelada said that, notwithstanding Petrobras investment priorities in sub-salt and refining, the company would still seek opportunities abroad. The rise in output abroad will come from Gulf of Mexico fields Cascade and Chinook, which will be on-stream in 2010 and should produce 100,000 bpd, he said. Petrobras also expects production to start in its second Nigerian field in 2010.

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