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BP launches $10M research project involving Brazilian and British universities

Release date:
27 September 2012

BP today announced a $10 million research collaboration project involving five Brazilian and three British universities.


The project, aimed at improving the understanding of the formation of the Parnaíba basin in Northeast Brazil, will combine deep crustal seismic reflection data, seismology and geological fieldwork.


Starting with seismic acquisition, it will involve students from the Universities of Brasilia, the Federal Universities of Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco and Bahia, and the Brazilian National Observatory in Brazil, and the Universities of Aberdeen, Cambridge and Oxford in the UK.


The project was launched during a visit to Brazil by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron and signed by Dr. Mike Daly, BP Executive Vice-President and José Geraldo de Sousa Junior, President of theUniversity of Brasilia.


“Brazil and the UK are committed to building on our already excellent relationship in science, research and higher education,” commented David Willetts, British Minister of State for Universities and Science. “This new agreement will further strengthen our ties — and bring more opportunities for our leading scientists, universities and businesses to collaborate and learn from one another, driving up knowledge and skills in both our countries.”


“We believe the Parnaíba basin represents an excellent laboratory to understand cratonic basins in general and deepen the understanding of the mechanisms which drive them,” said Dr. Mike Daly, BP Executive Vice-President.


“The seismic data acquired by BP will be interpreted along with other geophysical and geological data, building on the expertise from the Brazil and UK scientists involved in the project to create an integrated geological view and understanding of the basin´s oil and gas potential.”


The Parnaíba basin is a classical cratonic basin which has been lightly explored. Cratonic basins are typically very large sub-circular onshore basins formed during long periods of time over thick continental crust. Some have produced billions of barrels of hydrocarbons, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, but the majority are still underexplored. Oil and gas shows and recent discovery announcements demonstrate the potential of the Parnaíba basin, but it is not yet an established petroleum province.


BP has contracted Global Geophysical on a non-exclusive basis to acquire a 1440km regional seismic line across the whole basin, including the states of Pará, Tocantins, Maranhão, Piauí and Ceará. This data will be made available to the universities, who will integrate additional geophysical and geological data to build an integrated model which will help understand the evolution of the basin.


“This demonstrates BP´s long-term commitment to Brazil, where we are present in five basins, most of which are exploration frontiers,” said Guillermo Quintero, BP Brazil Regional President. “This voluntary project adds to the extensive exploration and appraisal programme BP is undertaking in Brazil in the 2011-2014 period.”


This project is funded by BP through its affiliate BP Energy do Brasil.

Further information




BP press office, London: +44 (0)20 7496 4076, bppress@bp.com

Máquina de Notícia / Carolina Lang, Rio de Janeiro: +55 21 3478 3105, carolina.lang@maquina.inf.br 

Notes to editors


BP in Brazil


  • BP Group companies have been present in Brazil since 1957 and currently operate four businesses in the country: exploration and production (BP Energy do Brasil); biofuels (BP Biocombustíveis); aviation fuel (Air BP); and lubricants (Castrol).
  • BP Energy do Brasil has 14 concessions in 5 Brazilian basins (Campos, Camamu-Almada (see map below).
  • BP owns and operates three producing ethanol mills in Brazil, with a total crush capacity of 7.5 million tonnes per annum.
  • Air BP operates in 18 airports across the country, providing aviation fuel to the commercial, military and general aviation.
  • Castrol provides high quality lubricants to the automotive, industrial marine and energy sectors.
  • BP Group companies are present in eleven Brazilian states (Bahia, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo) and the Federal District.