Petrobras pre-salt output rises

February 25, 2014

On 20 Feb, oil production in fields operated by Petrobras in the Santos and Campos Basin pre-salt accumulations rose to 407,000bpd, a record daily output.

It has taken eight years to achieve this level of output since initial discovery in 2006, faster than the time taken to reach the same level in other extensive production areas throughout the world. For instance, in the Gulf of Mexico it took 19 years from the initial discovery to reach output of 400,000bpd. In the Campos Basin, it took 16 years. And in the North Sea, nine years.

Record output is not the only achievement. Well 9-SPS-77, which came on stream on 18 Feb, is the first production well to start production using the buoy supported riser (BSR) system, installed on FPSO Cidade de São Paulo in the Sapinhoá field. Initial production from SPS-77 has already reached 36,000b/d. Installation of a second BSR on the FPSO Cidade de Paraty was completed on 7 Feb.

The output record of 407,000b/d was achieved from only 21 production wells, evidence of the high productivity of the fields already discovered in the pre-salt layer. Ten of these wells are located in the Santos Basin and account for 59% of output (240,000b/d). The remaining eleven are located in the Campos Basin, representing 41% of output (167,000b/d). At present, pre-salt production comes from 10 different platforms.

2014 will also see further increases in production capacity from three new pre-salt platforms: P-58 in North Parque das Baleias (1Q), FPSO Cidade de Ilhabela (3Q) in the Sapinhoá field, and FPSO Cidade de Mangaratiba (4Q) in the Lula/South Iracema field.

During 2015-2016, another eight new platforms will come on stream for pre-salt production in the Santos Basin. This will mean that oil production managed by Petrobras in the pre-salt is set to surpass one million b/d in 2017.

In addition to record oil output, a new record was set for sinking wells in the pre-salt layer. Production well SPH-5 in the Sapinhoá field, at a water depth of 2126m and with a final depth of 5334m, was completed on 26 Jan after only 109 days.

Campos Basin Production

The successive records achieved in pre-salt production have not diverted the company's attention from production in other post-salt production regions, whether onshore or offshore. Over the past 5 years, investments in the Campos Basin totaled R$76.4 billion.

Since the inception of the 2012-2016 Business and Management Plan, the company has implemented its Operational Efficiency Increase Project (Proef) for the two operational units currently operating in the Campos Basin and responsible for around 75% of Petrobras total production in Brazil.

Successfully recovering efficiency boosted oil production by 63,000bpd in 2013 compared to the existing scenario prior to improved operational efficiency. The efficiency of the Campos Basin Operational Unit (UO-BC) reached 75% in 2013, compared to the 66% recorded at the beginning of the project in April 2012.

As further proof of the Project's success, the Rio de Janeiro Operational Unit (UO-RIO) achieved 92% efficiency, compared to the 82% recorded in September 2012.

Campos Basin Reservoir Management

The characteristics of the Campos Basin oilfields mean that water injection is required to obtain the highest possible recovery volume from the reservoirs. The water injected is produced together with the oil, initially in low volumes that increase as time progresses. As an example, the use of water injection, acknowledged throughout the industry, means that the projected recovery from the Namorado oilfield is set at 70%. The same projection method predicts future recovery from the Marlim oilfield at 52% and over 40% from the South Marlim field, both in the Campos Basin. The above recovery factors are much higher than the world average (35%) according to Information Handling Services and for fields comparable to those in the Campos Basin.

At present, the Campos Basin produces one barrel of water per day for each barrel of oil output. This ratio is lower than the world average according to the reference literature (French Institute of Petroleum and Society of Petroleum Engineers), which states values of 3 to 5 barrels of water per barrel of oil output.

The natural drop in production from the Campos Basin has remained below 10% over the last two years, lower than the world benchmark which is set at 10 to 14% for offshore fields (Cambridge Energy and Research Association [CERA] and Information Handling Services [IHS]).

Integrity and legal conformity management

Campos Basin units form a complex production system consisting of 55 platforms and over 700 wells (production and injection), the majority connected undersea, and Petrobras has worked hard on management and investment in order to maximize the contribution of these fields to achieving the company's growth targets.

For this reason, the Operational Efficiency Increase Project (PROEF) includes expenditure of US$ 6.3 billion between 2013 and 2017, to be invested in the recovery of wells, undersea systems and platforms.

All the requirements of the regulatory and inspection agencies are being satisfied within the deadlines laid down. This includes, in particular, the intensive use of Maintenance and Safety Units (UMS), vessels that spend 3 to 6 months linked by bridges to the platforms and have capacity for 300 to 500 professionals on board to handle repairs and maintenance on all platform systems. As well as using this kind of vessel, planned production shutdowns are being implemented to maintain the integrity of the various systems.

Investments in New Systems

Two new platforms were brought on stream in the Campos Basin during 2013: P-63 in the Papa-Terra field and P-55 in Roncador. A further three systems will be brought on stream in 2014: P-58 in Parque das Baleias, P-62 in Roncador, and P-61 in Papa-Terra, with total investment of US$18 billion.

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