Latin American country’s oil reserves just got an added boost from a new discovery. The recent discovery of significant oil reserves off the cost of Brazil (known as pre-salt reserves due to the geological composition of the resources) has shed a spotlight on this growing Latin American powerhouse.
Brazil’s proven and probable oil reserves before the pre-salt discovery came in at 20 billion barrels. With this discovery this number will jump to 70 billion and may even eventually surpass 120 billion barrels. These offshore reservesmay hold as much oil as all of the North Sea, which is shared by several countries such as the UK and Norway.
In addition, the discovery rate off Brazil’s coast is one of the highest in the world and on record; exploration success is more than 85 percent in Brazil versus a global average of 25 percent. The Brazilian government, through Petrobas (PBR), is investing more than $200 billion in five years to develop these fields. It expects that total production will hit 5 million barrels per day by 2020, compared to an average of 2.7 million barrels per day today.
Brazil is already producing more than 100,000 barrels per day from the pre-salt regions today and it has begun an aggressive exporting program. If all goes according to plan, Brazil will be on track to export 1.5 million barrels per day in a few years. This is a remarkable number for a country with a booming economy and large internal demands for energy. The pre-salt discoveries will catapult this Latin American powerhouse from the Top 15 to Top 5 oil producers worldwide.
Putting things in perspective, this oil bonanza is similar to throwing jet fuel into a burning fire; the Brazilian economy is growing by leaps and bounds, and is one of the hottest economies in the world right now. In the closing days of 2011, the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) officially declared that Brazil had become the world’s sixth-largest economy, overtaking economic powers such as the UK, Italy, Russia and India.
Brazil is now the third-largest automobile marketin the world, behind only the US and China. And the Brazilian economic story is not relying merely on export sales of raw materials such as coffee and iron ore. Brazil boasts one of the most dynamic consumer markets of any country; indeed almost 70 percent of the Brazilian economy is consumer-driven. The only country with a similar consumption pattern: the United States.
When you add oil to this booming economy, it’s easy to understand why Brazil will be one of the top economies this decade and beyond. To be sure, the country still has many issues to deal with such as poor infrastructure and growing inequalities. However, its prolific oil resources, if developed effectively, should be able to catapult this Latin American powerhouse into the global rankings in many categories.
Here’s how you can benefit from Brazil’s booming oil industry. The biggest player in Brazil’s oil industry is the partially state-owned Petrobras. Petrobras is Latin America’s largest company by market cap and by revenues. It’s the leading company involved in the offshore pre-salt regions so by having this company in your portfolio, you have direct access to the coming offshore boom.
In 2010, Petrobras raised close to $70 billion in the largest share offering on record to help develop these offshore basins and position the company as a future leader in the space. In addition, the company has operations in over 20 countries and owns assets in excess of $150 billion.
Including Petrobras in your portfolio not only gives you access to Brazil’s booming offshore oil bonanza, but also to other key emerging-market economies such as Colombia and Chile. Throw in a dividend yield of 4 percent and it’s easy to see why this stock is a must-have for any serious investment portfolio.
Another company worth considering is Ogx Petroleo E Gas (OGXPY.PK). OGX is part of the EBX Group, which is a conglomerate owned by billionaire investor Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest man. Batista’s father was the president of VALE (VALE), Brazil’s largest mining company, which has had several successful ventures in mining, logistics, transportation and now oil. OGX is involved in all aspects of exploration and production off the coast of Brazil. It’s safe to say that if a major offshore oil asset isn’t owned by Petrobras, chances are it’s owned by OGX.
Specifically, OGX has extensive operations in the Campos Basin, another prolific pre-salt area. Estimates are that OGX controls about 2 billion barrels of reserves off the Brazilian coast, and has recently announced its first oil production in January of this year. With an aggressive exploration campaign and strong political clout, you can be sure that OGX’s reserves will grow quite rapidly in the coming years.
Disclosure: No positions in the stocks mentioned.