Brazil Navy gears up to safeguard offshore oil finds

Other News Materials 17 August 2008 04:06 (UTC +04:00)

Brazil's armed forces will hold manoeuvres next month to show they are capable of defending new offshore oil reserves that could convert the country into a global energy player, a senior official said. ( GN )

The state-owned oil company Petrobras made headlines last November when it discovered a deposit with estimated reserves of five to eight billion barrels, the world's second-biggest discovery in 20 years. The find could make Brazil one of the top 10 producers in the world, Petrobras said.

Since then some nationalist politicians and officers have raised concerns that other countries could possibly challenge Brazil's sovereignty over the reserves.

"We don't have a likely challenger or enemy. Within a modern view of planning, you send a signal to the international community - I am prepared," Admiral Edlander Santos, who will command the manoeuvres, told Reuters.

"It's an important sign because it prevents people from turning into possible challengers," Santos said in a telephone interview.

Santos downplayed the reestablishment of the US Fourth Fleet 58 years after the US Navy had decommissioned it. The Fourth Fleet is to help combat drug trafficking and offer humanitarian relief in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The US has said it would respect Brazil's territorial seas and exclusive econ-omic zones, which include the oil reserves.

As part of Operation Atlantic manoeuvres on Sep-tember 12-26, the Brazilian armed forces will simulate an attack by a fictitious enemy on oil drilling facilities such as platforms and pipelines in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Espirito Santos states and offshore.