The Oil Drum pointed me to this article at Bloomberg, which proceeds to detail what it will take to get the oil out of the ground at Brazil's Tupis field. These folks aren't kidding when they say the easy oil is mostly found. Here's a taste of what the Brazilians are up against:
Tapping what may be the biggest oil finds in the Western Hemisphere in three decades will require equipment that can withstand 18,000 pounds per square inch of pressure, enough to crush a pickup truck, pipes that can carry oil at temperatures above 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 Celsius) and drill bits that can penetrate layers of salt more than one mile thick.
How can we be so sure?
Brazil's oil will be harder to develop than the Gulf of Mexico, where the deepest wells are now in production, Cline said. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., the two biggest U.S. oil companies, saw diamond-crusted drill bits disintegrate and steel pipes crumple when they attempted to tap deposits beneath the Gulf's seafloor two years ago.
Not only are diamonds a girl's best friend, evidently they are a driller's delight. But diamonds aren't as costly as oil wells:
Petrobras hasn't said how much it spent to sink wells at Tupi and Carioca. Similar drilling by Exxon and Chevron Corp. in the Gulf of Mexico cost $180 million to $200 million for each well.
And lest you think that developing the wells and bringing on new production will lower your price at the pump:
"A big find might not be a good find if it costs so much to develop that it's not commercially viable," S&P's Vital said. "We don't have any idea at all yet of all the costs that are going to be involved. Those costs are going to set the floor for oil prices."
And how costly can it get?
Chevron, which has the deepest Gulf of Mexico exploration well, including distance below the seafloor, destroyed as many as a dozen $50,000 drill bits at each of the 14 wells in its $4.7 billion Tahiti project.
Exxon Mobil abandoned a Gulf project that would have been the deepest well after pressure and heat shut down the venture in August 2006.
By the way, the cost for the Tahiti project was $4.7 billion. That was not a typo in the snippet. The exploration well referenced is likely Jack, which they announced in September 2006. You notice that the article calls it an 'exploration' well. Chevron is not going to pursue production unless, and until, they have the technology to make it pay off.
Moral of the Story: Don't go looking for gasoline prices to plummet simply because new fields are located. Take the whole picture into account.