Brazil Oil Chief Expects Oil At $119 A Barrel For 2012

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A Petrobras Oil platform is seen at Guabanara bay in Rio de Janeiro
A Petrobras Oil platform is seen at Guabanara bay in Rio de Janeiro on Sept. 24, 2010.

The CEO of the biggest oil company in one of the world's fastest-rising economies thinks high oil prices are here to stay.

Maria das Gracas Foster, who heads Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company and the largest oil company in Latin America, said on Tuesday that she does not expect global oil prices to fall below $119 throughout the rest of the 2012, Reuters reported.

According to Foster, global geopolitical tensions will keep oil prices high.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf have been one the leading drivers for high oil prices.

Governments throughout the world have been trying to combat high energy prices. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama called on congress to pass laws that would help keep energy prices down by curbing market speculation.

In London, Brent crude -- the global benchmark for crude oil prices -- traded at $118.79, roughly $14 more than its U.S. counterpart on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The announcement comes just as Petrobras is readying to increase its drilling for oil and natural gas. The company anticipates it will drill an additional 42 wells throughout 2012, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The company has 15,000 producing wells spread over the world and 132 producing offshore platforms, according to the company's site.

Brazil is in the midst of an energy bonanza, and it has large pockets of offshore oil trapped deep under the seabed. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates Brazil could have as much as 100 billion barrels of oil in offshore deposits. The country could also have as much as 429 trillion cubic feet of natural gas trapped under the Atlantic Ocean.

Petrobras has announced it will invest close to $200 billion over the next several years to develop its offshore resources.

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