Brazil's oil

Brazil is poised to become a top global oil producer if the country can develop its massive offshore reserves. Above, an oil refinery owned by Petrobras. (Marcelo Sayao / EPA)

Brazil is poised to triple oil production in the next two decades and become a top producer by 2035 if the country can develop its massive offshore reserves.

Brazil could jump to No. 6 on the world's top producer list by 2035, up from 12th currently, according to the International Energy Agency. 

The South American nation could account for a third of total growth in crude oil output by 2035 by tapping into the deep water fields beneath the Atlantic Ocean, the agency said.

But one potential obstacle to development is government policy designed to encourage economic growth, which requires companies to buy local equipment and services. International oil companies worry that such restrictions could slice severely into profits and leave too much power in the hands of the government and the state-controlled oil giant Petrobras.

Petrobras, along with a group including Royal Dutch Shell and two Chinese firms, recently won an auction for Libra, the largest of the recently discovered deep-water fields.

The agency said developing Brazil's vast reserves would require millions of dollars in investment in coming years.

"The heaviest burden lies with Petrobras," the International Energy Agency said, "placing an emphasis on its ability to deploy resources effectively across a huge and varied investment program."

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