Ken Clarke has called for closer bilateral trading ties with Brazil as he revealed British oil and gas companies had generated more business with the emerging South American power in six months this year than in the whole of 2012-13.
Mr Clarke will lead a trade mission to Brazil this week in his role as the Prime Minister's trade envoy and ahead of his visit revealed that the Government has helped British companies win £468.65 million worth of oil and gas contracts in the financial year so far, compared with £467.94 million in the whole of 2012-13.
The Cabinet minister also hailed Shell's successful bid as part of a multinational consortium to extract the estimated eight to 12 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Libra oil field off the Brazilian coast.
Mr Clarke said: "The Shell success is excellent news for the British export effort.
"Not only are British oil majors right at the heart of Brazilian oil exploration, but they are also potentially opening up very considerable further opportunities for the British-based supply chain.
"Not enough of us realise that it is UK firms which are leading the world in the mind-bogglingly complex technology which is required to access oil at incredible depths and incredible pressures.
"These are companies operating at the very edge of the possible - and they are British born and bred.
"For all their technical know-how, they do need the clout and advocacy of the British Government and the big oil majors if they are to access some of these big oil fields.
"Since my last trip to Brazil in May this year we have already helped generate £468.65 million of contracts, more than was achieved in the whole of last year, and Shell's success spells only further good news for the future."
Mr Clarke last visited Brazil in May and revealed that since then British companies had won £5.5 million worth of healthcare business in the emerging nation.
He said: "Not only are we British producing world-beating engineers, we also have, thanks to the NHS, healthcare experts who are the envy of the world. These are not only the nurses and doctors on whom we rely.
"They are also the small, highly-expert businesses who produce the IT systems which store patient records, the medical technology which saves lives, and other highly sought after products.
"With help from the British Government these firms are now winning contracts to help improve the healthcare available to normal Brazilian citizens.
"Since my last visit £5.5 million worth of new business has been won with British Government help in this area.
"This is not only a considerable trading success, it is also a contribution to improving the well-being of Brazilian citizens."
UK goods exports to Brazil were up 9.5% in the first six months of 2013, compared with the same period last year.
The success showed that Britain must remain an outward-looking nation that should forge closer one-to-one relationships with countries like Brazil, Mr Clarke said.
He added: "There has never been a more important time for the British to look outward and not inward.
"Trade has provided the bedrock of our island's success for centuries. This is a proud tradition which this Government is investing huge resource in boosting.
"Not only does this mean fostering close bilateral relationships with the big emerging powers like Brazil, it also means exerting influence in the European Union, which is increasingly the forum in which global trading rules are set, in the G8 and in other international fora.
"What these success stories show is that at a time when the economic rules of the game are ever increasingly international, we British will reap only rewards if we continue to have the self-confidence to exert our influence to the maximum possible extent on the world stage."