International News: Brazilian pre-salt outperforms UK production

An offshore oil drilling platform.

An offshore oil drilling platform. — Photo courtesy Agência Brasil

Brazilian pre-salt oil production is completing ten years, with 1.5 million barrels of oil per day (bdp) and 21 platforms operating. This number is higher than those registered by the UK or Oman, in the Middle East, each with an average production of 1 million bpd in 2017. Petrobras, which is headquartered in the city of Rio de Janeiro, expects that the volume produced in the pre-salt will increase progressively until 2022, with the start-up of 13 platforms and investments amounting to US$ 35 billion. Of every four Petrobras production projects planned for the next few years, three will be in this layer.

Currently, according to data from Petrobras, the 36 most productive wells in the country are in the pre-salt. To have an idea, each pre-salt well produces, in average, 27,000 bpd, which is above the average in the offshore industry. In the Sapinhoá field, for instance, a single well reached the record of 42,000 bpd. The accumulated pre-salt production has reached 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

In one decade, pre-salt became one the most competitive producing areas in global industry, and technology had a fundamental role in this process. The peculiar conditions of the pre-salt drove company technicians and partners to work on state-of-the-art innovations to develop this layer. These innovations have been recognized worldwide by the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) – the Oscars of the industry – received by Petrobras in 2015, and allowed, for instance, a reduction the time needed to install a well from 300 to 100 days, making projects more profitable.

“Our achievements in the pre-salt are the result of an evolution of our cycle of learning and innovation culture rooted in the company since its creation. And the first milestone of this climb was the discovery of the Guaricema field, in Sergipe, in shallow waters, precisely 50 years ago: that would be the starting point of our presence offshore. Since this discovery we have expanded our offshore operations until we got to Campos Basin, 40 years ago, a true open-air innovation laboratory, which represented an unprecedented technological turn for the company,” says Exploration and Production officer, Solange Guedes.

Petrobras informed that the focus on optimizing operating costs and accelerating production has been translated into an average extraction cost below US$ 7 per barrel of oil equivalent. In the oil industry, expediting the production of projects means anticipating recovery of the capital employed, which according to the company is crucial for generating cash and rescuing their financial health.

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