Brazil Extends Sovereignty Over Oil Drilling Before UN Border Approval

Brazil expanded the offshore area where drilling for crude or prospecting for minerals requires government authorization as it seeks to increase control over natural resources.

Prospecting anywhere on the undersea continental shelf that extends from the South American country’s coast will now require government approval, even in areas that are beyond current sea borders, according to a Brazilian Navy order published in the official gazette Sept. 3. The continental shelf is the extended perimeter of a continent between the coastline and the oceanic abyss.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has sought to increase control over offshore oil resources after state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA made discoveries such as Tupi, the largest find in the Americas since Mexico’s Cantarell in 1976. Brazil is preparing a new sea-border expansion request to the United Nations after a 2004 proposal was rejected.

The UN generally recognizes a country’s maritime territory as the area within 200 nautical miles from the shore.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carlos Caminada in Sao Paulo at

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