Sergio Gabrielli, Petrobras’s president as quoted by the news source, said that the government should shake up the regulations that govern the oil industry to prepare the country to take full advantage of the discovery of potentially massive oil reserves off the Brazilian coast.

The Financial Times has reported a senior economic advisor to the Brazilian president, as saying that initial evaluations suggest that new fields could hold between 50 billion to 70 billion barrels of oil and natural gas equivalent, putting Brazil ahead of Russia in terms of estimated oil reserves.

Under Brazil’s present exploration and production regulatory system, oil companies buy concessions to prospect in geographical blocks, mostly in partnership with Petrobras. These oil companies are awarded control of the discovered oil, in return for their involvement and risks, paying royalties to the state.

Mr Gabrielli said that, in view of the new certainty of discovering large volumes of oil in the new fields, Brazil’s concession system would be akin to offering investors a winning lottery ticket.

Petrobras has noted that no change would be made to concessions already granted, but exploration of pre-salt fields required new rules. Brazil’s oil industry regulator, Agencia Nacional do Petroleo, has removed pre-salt fields from its annual auction of concession licenses, subsequent to the massive Tupi discovery offshore Brazil.