Petrobras To Devote $4.5B To Research

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Petrobras, Brazil's state-run oil company, may spend up to $4.5 on research over the next five years in a bid to bolster technology used to explore for oil in deepwater locations. Spending on research could prove critical to the company's efforts to extract more oil from Brazil's pre-salt fields in the coming years.

Petrobras (PBR) has a research center that will work with Brazilian universities to tackle technical challenges to producing oil that is buried deep below the ocean's surface under a thick layer of salt, according to Reuters.

Petrobras said it plans to invest $800 million to $900 million a year on research projects over the next five years. Regulations set forth by Brazil's government require oil companies to invest 1% of gross revenues from high-productivity fields in research and development, Reuters reported.

Brazil is looking to bolster its oil output to 20 million barrels per day by 2020 and Petrobras has said it plans to spend $224 billion on exploration projects through 2014, easily the largest exploration budget of any of the world's oil majors. Last year, Petrobras announced a $700 million expansion of its Cenpes research facility.