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BP, Brazil and UK team up on geological research

BP is teaming up with eight universities from Brazil and the UK in a joint geological research project to identify oil deposits in Brazil.

The US$10 million scheme is aimed at studying the formation of the Parnaíba basin in north-east Brazil that is thought to contain metals, gas and oil. It will involve gathering deep crustal seismic reflection data, seismology and geological fieldwork.

Students from five Brazilian and three British universities will take part, including the universities of Brasilia, the federal universities of Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco and Bahia, and the Brazilian National Observatory, and the universities of Aberdeen, Cambridge and Oxford in the UK.

In addition to the Parnaiba basin study agreement, BP has set its sights on Brazil’s potential renewable energy sources. BP and Brazil’s National Laboratory of Bioethanol Science and Technology are launching a $1m project to develop ethanol production from sugar cane.

The project was launched during a visit to Brazil by British Prime Minister David Cameron in which several student exchange agreements were signed. They included expansion of English-language training in Brazilian universities and in the Science without Borders programme, a Brazilian government student exchange initiative.

A £4.5m research partnership agreement was signed between the UK-based BG Group, Aberdeen University and the University of Rio Grande de Sul involving up to 25 postgraduate student exchanges between the two countries.

“Brazil and the UK are committed to building on our already excellent relationship in science, research and higher education,” said David Willetts, Britain’s universities and science minister, according to a British government news release.

“This new agreement will further strengthen our ties — and bring more opportunities for our leading scientists, universities and businesses to collaborate and learn from one another, driving up knowledge and skills in both our countries,” he added.