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Exploration of the Santos Basin, Brazil

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Tuesday, 28 September 2021, 1:20 p.m.–3:00 p.m.  |  Denver, ColoradoMile High Room 1 - Colorado Convention Center

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Location: In-Person – Colorado Convention Center (Speakers presenting in-person and online)

A panel of experts discusses the current and anticipated developments in Brazil’s Santos Basin and takes a look at how development is moving forward in this time of energy transition.


Pinar Yilmaz
Retired - ExxonMobil Corporation
Marcio Rocha Mello
President, Brazil Petro Studies


Marcio Rocha Mello
President, Brazil Petro Studies

Marcio Rocha Mello started his career in 1976 working for Petrobras, as a geologist. He was promoted to Head of the Geochemistry Group of Petrobras (SEGEQ), in 1981. From 1985 to 1988 he did his master’s and PhD, in petroleum geochemistry at Bristol University, England. In 1996 he formed and became the Head of the first Center of Excellence of Petrobras (CEGEQ), considered one of the best laboratories of Petroleum Geochemistry in the world.

In 2000, Marcio founded and developed Analytical Solutions (AS) with several integrated E&P services and the Petroleum and Environment Geochemistry (PEG) with several laboratories around Latin America.

Marcio has more than 300 publications in petroleum and environmental geochemistry and petroleum systems. He has held the positions of founder and first President of the Brazilian Association of Petroleum Geologists and President for the AAPG Latin American Region among others. He also, received the 1998 International Distinguished Achievement Award from AAPG for his outstanding leadership and contribution to application and teaching of Geochemistry in exploration and establishing the Center of Excellence for Geochemistry at Petrobras. In 2000, Marcio received the 2002 Robert H. Dott., Sr., Memorial Award, for the Best Special Publication AAPG Memoir 73 “Petroleum Systems of South Atlantic Margins” published by AAPG in 2000. In 2004, he was the founder of HRT Petroleum that evolved to be one of the best E&P consulting companies in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2009, he incorporated HRT Participacoes, today PetroRio, as an oil company, and lead one of the largest IPO in Brazil.

At present Marcio is president and shareholder of Brazilpetrostudies (BPS), considered to be one of the most advanced E&P service and consultancy company in Brazil.

Eliane Petersohn
Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels

Eliane Petersohn has undergraduate degree in Geology (BS) From Federal University of Parana and master’s degree in exploration geology from the same university. She also has postgraduate studies in regulatory law at IBMEC - Brazilian Institute of Capital Markets. Ms. Petersohn joined Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) in 2006 as a geologist. In 2010 she was appointed Chief Geologist, becoming responsible for the selection and geological evaluation of the areas for oil and gas bidding rounds in Brazil. In 2019 she became upstream advisor to the board of directors, being responsible for providing guidance and technical insight to support the BOD decisions on public policies and regulations. Ms. Petersohn has spent the past 15 years working on the ANP’s large-scale strategic projects, conducting geological evaluation for bidding rounds and developing a multiyear geological and geophysical plan for the agency. She was responsible for coordinating the first phase of the onerous assignment process, which authorized the Brazilian Federal Government to onerously assign to NOC Petrobras up to 5 billion barrels. Ms. Petersohn was also directly involved in the location of two wells, which discovered two of the country's largest oil fields (Buzios and Mero fields).

Rodolpho Henrique Saboia
Director General, National Agency of Petroleum (ANP)

Rodolfo Henrique de Saboia holds a bachelor's degree in naval sciences from the Naval School (1978), a masters in command and general staff (1995) and a doctorate in maritime policy and strategy (2005), both from the Naval War School, as well as specialization in international management from Coppead-UFRJ (2005). In active service in the Brazilian Navy, he held several positions, including deputy chief of organization and maritime affairs of the Naval Operations Command (2008 to 2010), commander of the Naval Surface Force (2010 to 2011) and coordinator of the Naval Equipment Program (2011 to 2012). With over 40 years of service, he was transferred to the reserves in 2012, with the rank of Rear Admiral. In the reserves, he served as superintendent of environment of the Directorate of Ports and Coasts (DPC) from 2013 to August 2020. During his professional career, he participated in various seminars in Brazil and abroad and published several articles.

Garry Karner

Garry has had an extensive geoscience career spanning more than four decades, beginning in 1975 as a young graduate from Flinders University working at the Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources in the Marine Group for eight years, followed by a Ph.D. research program at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory that expanded into a twenty-year research effort. During this time (2000-2003), Garry, as chair of the NSF-MARGINS program, worked with NSF program managers to oversee the scientific and logistic advancement of margins research, which was dedicated to transforming our largely descriptive and qualitative knowledge of continental margins to a level where theory, modelling and simulation, together with field observation and experiment, could lead to a quantitative understanding of the processes that control margin development. Garry’s academic career then provided the foundation for a fifteen-year career with ExxonMobil, principally within the Upstream Research Company. As an experienced hire, Garry was brought onboard as a teacher, mentor and researcher in light of his academic research into modeling the spatial and time behavior of lithospheric deformation coupled with his extensive research into lithospheric flexure. Garry’s broad research interests and experience proved instrumental in developing new field workshops, teaching modules, and mentoring programs for early and mid-career interpreters that fundamentally changed the way ExxonMobil explored present-day deep water passive margin settings.

Over his 15 years at ExxonMobil, Garry has been directly involved in the regional analyses of a broad range of margins, including the Sub-salt Brazilian basins, Sergipe-Alagoas, Angola and the Namibe margins, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin margins, Gulf of Mexico, Central and North Atlantic, Laptev margin and the Orphan basin, Labrador margin, deep water Libyan and Egyptian margins, Mozambique, Kenyan, Somali and Madagascar margins, deep water East Indian margin, South China Sea, offshore Papua-New Guinea and finally, the Northwest and southern Australian margins. Developed field programs were focused on integrating and iterating between theory and the structural and stratigraphic field relationships of hyper-extended margin systems, basement types, crustal architecture, depositional environments, paleo-geographies, and the seismic character of post-breakup magmatic and oceanic crusts. Quantitative Basin Analysis, a forward-modeling geological integration code developed by Garry, was extensively used to parse preserved basin stratigraphy into estimates of tectonic heat flow history while predicting paleo-bathymetry and implications for basin restriction and isolation.

Garry’s business role within ExxonMobil has been to provide innovative, business-applicable and scientifically-supported exploration solutions in highly-challenged frontier basin settings using quantitative modeling of basin-formation processes and a geologic approach to seismic interpretation and regional geologic and tectonic integration. In turn, this approach significantly expanded the exploration opportunity space, and impacted project planning, resource allocation, opportunity identification, and block capture in deep water passive margin settings.


Exploration of the Santos Basin, Brazil
Colorado Convention Center
700 14th St
Denver, Colorado 80202
United States

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