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Tapping a Deep, 'Pre-Salt' Bounty

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Science  03 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6009, pp. 1308-1309
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6009.1308

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Three years ago, a drill bit struck immense oil deposits deep off the coast of Brazil. Petrobras, the national oil company, tapped undersea fields now estimated to hold about 80 billion barrels of oil and natural gas—about three times the size of the reservoir under Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. It brought the promise of new wealth and expectations that Brazil will climb to the world's top rung of achievement in science and technology. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva once termed the oil strike "a second independence for Brazil" and promised to use the oil revenue for education and public health. But Brazil's R&D sector has been first to benefit.