HOUSTON -- ExxonMobil has reported to Brazilian regulatory officials a pre-salt petroleum discovery of unknown size off the coast of the country near major reserves of the Santos basin such as Tupi and Carioca.
The significance of the discovery in the area known as Azulao is as yet unknown. Regulatory filings of initial discoveries do not require estimates of potential recovery. However, block BM-S-22 is located near recent pre-salt discoveries that are still being defined and thought to be substantial.
"An affiliate of ExxonMobil in Brazil filed a discovery notice with the Brazilian ANP [National Petroleum Agency] on Jan. 16, 2009, stating that hydrocarbons have been encountered at the Azulao-1 well in the Santos Basin. We are continuing to drill the well to its target depth. The details of our drilling program are confidential," ExxonMobil said in a statement.
Oil found in this area of Brazilian pre-salt formations can be at water depths of more than 2,000 m (6,562 ft) and 5,000 m (16,404 ft) below the seabed, making production both challenging and expensive.
The rigWest Polaris drilled the hole.
ExxonMobil is a 40% stakeholder and operator of the field along with Hess which has 40% and Petrobras which has 20%.