Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) has secured an environmental licence from Brazilian environmental agency Ibama to drill two exploratory wells in the maritime block BM-POT-17.
The company plans to start drilling work at the first well, located 52km off the coast, in the next few weeks once the rig arrives at the site.
Petrobras said the exploratory survey aims to acquire more geological information regarding the area to assess the extent and economic feasibility of the oil discovery, which was made at the Pitu well in 2013.
The company stated that there is no oil production “at this stage”.
The BM-POT-17 block is located in deep waters in the Potiguar Basin, part of the maritime portions of the Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Norte and Ceará.
The Potiguar Basin forms part of the Brazilian Equatorial Margin, which stretches between the states of Amapá and Rio Grande do Norte.
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Petrobras considers the Equatorial Margin to be one of the world’s “most promising frontiers” in deep and ultra-deep waters.
In a press statement, Petrobras said: “Recent discoveries announced in regions adjacent to these frontiers, especially in neighbouring Guyana and Suriname, indicate significant oil production potential for the Brazilian Equatorial Margin.
“Brazil’s new frontiers are essential for guaranteeing national energy security and sovereignty, in a context of energy transition and a low-carbon economy.”
Over a five-year period, Petrobras intends to drill 16 exploratory wells in the Equatorial Margin.
The company plans to invest around $3bn (15.19bn reais) to support research projects and for assessing oil potential in the region.
Last month, Petrobras announced plans to install 11 new production platforms in the Brazilian pre-salt layer by 2027.