Pre-salt oilfield creates biggest challenge yet for Petrobras

The discovery of nearly 60bn barrels of oil found off the coast of Brazil in 2007 was welcome news to Brazil's then-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. "We will have more oil to face up to this financial crisis," he told cheering crowds. Though this newly discovered abundance is certainly worth a considerable sum of money, its extraction poses a daunting challenge to state-controlled oil company Petrobras. The technological challenges of the extraction job are numerous, but "Brazil has been effectively tackling the pre-salt challenges, most of the time with joint developments between oil companies and key suppliers," says José de Sá, a partner at Bain & Company.

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