Brazilian state oil company Petrobras last week announced it encountered a 984-column of hydrocarbons in an offshore field just days after boasting of a new discovery off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Further north, while struggling, Mexican oil monopoly Pemex said crude oil production reached 2.5 million barrels per day for July. With energy policies moving front-and-center to the U.S. political debate, a discussion that includes Latin and South American reserves could be a more representative version of an “all-of-the-above” strategy.
Petroleo Brasileiro, the state-run oil company known as Petrobras, announced last week the 984-foot column was discovered off the coast of the northeastern state of Sergipe. Four days earlier, a discovery at the Franco prospect yielded a 967-foot column off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The state-controlled company is a frequent target of critics who complain output is slow despite the discovery of major oil deposits in the pre-salt areas off the country’s coast. While technologically cumbersome, the government expects to reach a daily oil production benchmark of 7 million barrels by 2020. That would put Brazil on near equal footing with Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia in terms of oil production.
Meanwhile, state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, reported a lackluster July with exports down 6.5 percent from the June figures at 1.12 million barrels per day. The company ranks seventh in the world in terms of oil production, though aging oil fields and a lack of investments means Mexico might become a net importer of crude oil by the next decade. Nevertheless, the government last year opened the door for private companies to start operations in seven oil fields in the country.