A huge offshore oil field found off the coast of Rio de Janeiro has the potential to make Brazil one of the world's top oil exporters, the AP reports. The Tupi field could hold 8 billion barrels, but it's very deep and will be difficult and expensive to drill. The state oil company Petrobras says full-scale extraction is unlikely to begin until 2013.
Brazil became a net exporter of oil only last year. The oil at Tupi field lies under 7,000 feet of water, 10,000 feet of sand and rocks, and nearly 7,000 feet of salt. An analyst says the find has implications beyond Brazil. "It has established an aura of optimism for massive future exploration success," he says.