Brazilian state-controlled energy giant Petrobras said Wednesday that an additional well drilled at the Jupiter concession confirms the potential of that enormous offshore natural gas and condensate field.

The new well was drilled some 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) from the original well that discovered Jupiter, located in the pre-salt Santos basin, Petrobas said in a statement.

The pre-salt region, recently discovered by Petrobras in ultra-deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean, is so-named because the oil and gas reserves it contains are located far beneath the ocean floor under a thick layer of salt.

Distributed across roughly 160,000 sq. kilometers (62,000 sq. miles), that region is estimated to hold tens of billions of barrels of oil equivalent and could potentially transform Brazil into a major crude exporter.

The extension well at Jupiter confirmed the "presence of natural gas and condensate and the existence of a continuous reservoir between the two wells," Petrobras, the operator of the concession with a 80 percent stake, said in the statement.

The remaining interest in Jupiter is held by the local unit of Portugal's Galp Energia.

"Thus far, the well has identified a 176-meter (577-foot) oil column in rocks with excellent permeability and porosity characteristics," the statement said.

Petrobras said the new well, which thus far has been drilled to a depth of 5,438 meters (17,830 feet), is located 275 kilometers (170 miles) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state in an area where the water depth is 2,161 meters.

The Jupiter field is located 37 kilometers (23 miles) from the Tupi field, which could hold between 5-8 billion barrels of recoverable oil and is thus far the biggest discovery in the pre-salt region, according to Petrobras. EFE