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Brazil: Maritime Border Expanded

(Sept. 10, 2010) Resolution No. 3 of August 26, 2010 (Resolução No. 3 de 26 de Agosto de 2010), published in Brazil's official gazette on September 3, 2010, by the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Sea Resources, a federal agency subordinated to the Ministry of the Navy and coordinated by the Navy Commander, puts under special protection an area of approximately 148,000 square miles, located on the Brazilian continental shelf.

The area, which is being formally claimed by Brazil before the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, allegedly contains a substantial amount of oil in the pre-salt region, a group of rocks located below a layer of salt and at a depth of more than 7,000 meters under the sea.

The Resolution determines that no foreign government or company can explore the continental shelf without Brazilian government authorization, in line with Brazilian Law No. 8,617 of January 4, 1993, which stipulates that the Brazilian government has the exclusive right to authorize and regulate drilling, for whatever purposes, on the continental shelf. According to a government source, the Resolution was used as a means to reinforce the nation's sovereignty and provide institutional guarantees to pre-salt investors. (Brasil Amplia Fronteira Marítima pelo Pré-Sal, VEJA (Sept. 7, 2010),