The find was announced by OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes S.A., which has been developing oil interests in both Brazil and Colombia and is a lesser-known entity outside the region than the state-run Petrobras.
OGX is leading the largest private sector exploratory campaign in Brazil. It holds a 100-percent working interest in the block where the new discovery was made.
OGX said its exploration yielded results that confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons in Well OGX-33 in the Campos Basin, a petroleum-rich area offshore of Rio de Janeiro.
OGX said the findings indicated a net pay of about 139 feet in the Albian section. Net pay is the oil industry's jargon for the net thickness of an oil reservoir and indicates whether the area is capable of producing commercially viable quantities of hydrocarbons.
The Albian section is located in the BM-C-41 block in the shallow waters of the Campos Basin, a vast region of numerous oil fields, mostly operated by Petrobras, that covers more than 38,610 square miles.
More than 40 Petrobras fields are already in various stages of development in the area, which is estimated to contain 7.21 billion barrels of oil and condensate and tens of thousands of cubic feet of gas.
OGX drillers dug to depths of more than 12,000 feet to reach the hydrocarbons deposits.
The OGX-33 well lies about 50 miles off the Rio de Janeiro coast at a water depth of about 416 feet.
OGX says it has a diversified, high-potential portfolio comprising 29 exploratory blocks in the Campos, Santos, Espirito Santo, Para-Maranhao and Parnaiba Basins in Brazil and five exploratory blocks in Colombia in the Middle and Lower Magdalena Valley and in Cesar-Rancheria basins.
OGX is a member of the EBX Group, an industrial group founded under the leadership of Brazilian entrepreneur Eike F. Batista.
The Campos Basin region already produces about 1.69 million barrels of oil per day. Production is set to increase to 1.8 million barrels.
In February 2010 Petrobras made a new 65 million barrel discovery on the Barracuda oil field of Campos Basin.
Petrobras and the Brazilian government have been carefully choosing investment partners for the region, without giving away too much by way of exploration and production rights. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, visiting China this week, signed a series of agreements that will see more Chinese involvement in Brazil's energy industries.