November 9, 2007

Saudi Brazil

Quico says: While we weren't paying attention, South America's energy map changed.

Brazil has discovered somewhere north of 5 billion barrels of recoverable, light oil just off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The Tupi find could boost Brazil total reserves by 50%, turning the country into a net exporter. They could be pumping a million barrels a day outta there for a decade and a half or more to come.

It's one of those transcendent but slow burn events whose importance the press isn't very good at conveying. You won't notice the implications this week, or this year. But the strategic calculus in the region just changed.

Brazil's reserves are still a small fraction of Venezuela's but, today, the regional power is much less energy dependent on its northern neighbor than it was last week. It won't be the sexiest piece of news you'll read this week, but it's probably the most important.