Magda Chambriard, a director of the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels, said independent consultants have estimated the Libra discovery off the coast of Brazil could hold as much as 7.9 billion barrels of oil.
Chambriard, speaking at an oil and gas summit in Rio de Janeiro, said his agency expected to complete drilling the first well in the discovery within the month and test the well in November, the Platts news service reports.
The discovery may be the largest ever in Brazilian waters.
Brazilian Oil and Gas Secretary Marco Antonio Martins Almeida said the petroleum agency may auction off the development rights to the area as early as next year, Platts adds.
The well will be drilled in 6,198 feet of water to a depth of more than 21,000 feet below the sea floor.