Oil-drilling platform in Gulf of Mexico Brazil has announced the discovery of a huge offshore oil field that could contain between 5 to 8 billion barrels of oil, enough to expand the country's proven reserves by 40 to 50 percent. The "ultra-deep" Tupi field was found under 7,060 feet of water, another 10,000 feet of sand and rocks and a further 6,600 feet of salt – a total of 4.48 miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Sergio Gabrielli, the chief executive officer of the state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA told Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Monday that reserves in the pre-salt area off Brazil's coast are much larger than the Tupi field, possibly containing as much as 80 billion barrels in oil reserves. By specializing in advanced ultra-deep offshore oil exploration, Brazil has moved from being a country dependent on Ethanol for its gasoline consumption to becoming a net exporter of oil within less than a decade. Felipe Cunha, an oil analyst with the San Paulo-based brokerage Brascan told CNN, "If the best-case scenario happens, this discovery would make Petrobras' reserves overcome those of Shell and Chevron and put Petrobras behind only Exxon and British Petroleum." Brazil's offshore oil is being found in the Espirito Santo, Campos and Santos Basins some 50 miles into the Atlantic Ocean east of Rio de Janeiro. (Story continues below) The discovery challenges "peak oil" theorists who contend the Earth's supply of oil is running out. WND previously reported the geological description of the Campos Basin suggests that the rock formations in which the oil is being found are in Upper Oligocene to Lower Miocene deposits; in other words, deposits from the Cenozoic Era dating back only some 24,000 years. Many scientists believe dinosaurs dominated in the Mesozoic era stretching back 250 million years ago and ending some 65 million years ago, which would contradict the theory that dead dinosaurs or decaying ancient forests formed the oil off Brazil's soil. The Campos Basin deposits are typically described as "turbidite," a sedimentary deposit that consists of material moved down a steep slope at the edge of the continental shelf. The biological content of the Campos Basin rock is found to contain "benthic foraminifera," little shell creatures that live on the ocean bottom. The rock itself is described as having been formed in "bathyal" conditions, a term typically reserved to describe the ocean floor from half a mile to about two miles down. The geological description of the Campos Basin is consistent with the abiotic theory, that oil is formed inorganically, within the mantle of the earth, and seeps up into reservoirs formed in porous sedimentary rock deposits. The "peak oil" theory was first proposed in 1956 by Shell Oil's M. King Hubbard who drew a bell shaped curve and argued that oil production would gradually diminish to nothing after reaching "peak production" sometime in the 1970s. Critics have charged that peak oil theorists continually revise their estimates of when oil production will be exhausted without abandoning their theory when new discoveries of oil reserves challenge their fundamental assumptions. The Energy Information Administration, or EIA, of the U.S. Department of Energy continues to report world proven oil reserves exceeding 1.3 trillion barrels, the most in human history, despite oil consumption doubling since 1970. Brazil's huge offshore oil find also challenges U.S. advocates of ethanol. According to the EIA, Brazil is the 10th largest energy consumer in the world and the third largest in the Western Hemisphere, right behind the U.S. and Canada. For decades, Brazil was considered oil-poor, reliant upon the production of ethanol to provide gasoline for automobiles. Today, the EIA reports over half the cars in Brazil are flex-fuel, meaning they can run on 100 percent ethanol or an ethanol-gasoline mixture. The EIA further reports eight of ten cars sold in Brazil are flex-fuel vehicles and all gasoline in Brazil contains ethanol, with blending levels ranging from 20 to 25 percent. Offshore oil has increased Brazil's oil production since 2005, with the EIA estimating it will reach 2.32 million barrels a day this year, allowing the country for the first time to become a net exporter of oil. The EIA now ranks Brazil's oil reserves at second only to Venezuela. The three major suppliers of oil to the U.S. are now Canada, Mexico and Venezuela. WND reported Chevron in September 2006 announced the discovery of a giant oil reserve in the Gulf of Mexico, the Jack Field, estimated to hold as much as 15 billion barrels of oil, enough to increase the U.S. proven reserves by as much as 50 percent. Still, environmentalists largely have blocked offshore ultra-deep oil exploration in the U.S. Yet, in 2006, Cuba announced plans to hire the communist Chinese to drill for oil some 45 miles off the shores of Florida. This move was made possible by the 1977 agreement under President Jimmy Carter that created for Cuba an "Exclusive Economic Zone" extending from the country's western tip to the north, virtually to Key West, Fla.