As some countries begin measures to reopen and try to get back to somewhat of a normal routine again, Brazil is still fighting the spread of COVID-19. At least five oil producers have registered coronavirus cases among their employees and contractors at facilities located off the coast of Brazil.
China has seen a large decrease in the demand of gasoline and Jet fuel stemming from the deadly outbreak of the Coronavirus and the subsequent travel restrictions. Chinese refineries have been responsible for taking a third of all Latin American produced crude. Brazil is the largest exporter of crude into China and mainly supply the independent Chinese refineries. The Coronavirus death toll has climbed to 170 and an addition 8,000 people are infected there is an obvious fear surrounding the virus. The fear of a global outbreak has led to OPEC announcement to move up their March meeting to attempt to help correct the oil market.
Last week, the Brazilian Federal Audit Court approved an oil auction that covers parts of the pre-salt zone offshore Brazil that was involved in a long dispute between the Brazilian government and Petrobras. The Brazilian pre-salt oil region consist of carbonates found below the salt layer. It’s oil-rich offshore reserve that is trapped below 2,000 meters of a thick layer of salt, where this layer of salt was deposited on accumulated organic matter, holding it for millions of years until thermochemical processes turned the organic layers into hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas).