This result was reached less than ten years after these deposits were discovered, in 2006. And in fewer than two years after reaching the 500,000-barrel-per-day mark, in July 2014. This proves not only the technical and economic feasibility of the pre-salt, but also its high level of productivity. In comparative terms, we reached the output of the first million barrels of oil per day in 1998, 45 years after we were established.
The current record was set with the contribution of only 52 producing wells, which proves the excellent return on investment in the pre-salt. It should be emphasized that the first million barrels the company produced per day, in 1998, was attained with the contribution of more than 8,000 producing wells.
“The pre-salt production projects are currently the main bet and the focus of Petrobras’ investments for their strategic importance and high profitability. They are the guarantee, along with the other projects in our portfolio, of greater predictability for our goals and production curve,” notes Solange Guedes, our director for Exploration and Production.
Seven large production systems are currently operating in the Santos Basin pre-salt cluster. They are connected to floating platforms that produce, store, and offload oil and gas. These are FPSOs Cidade de Angra dos Reis (in operation since 2010, at the Lula field); Cidade de São Paulo (2013 – Sapinhoá field); Cidade de Paraty (2013 – Lula field); Cidade de Mangaratiba (2014 – Lula field, South Iracema area); Cidade de Ilhabela (2014 – Sapinhoá field, North area); Cidade de Itaguaí (2015 – Lula field, North Iracema area), and Cidade de Maricá (2016 – Lula field, Upper Lula area).
Eight other production systems operate both in the pre-salt and post-salt areas of the Campos Basin. Six of these units were already producing in the post-salt, but since they had idle processing capacity, they enabled the rapid interconnection of new wells drilled in the deeper layers of the pre-salt. These are the systems interconnected to platforms P-48, operating in the Barracuda-Caratinga field; P-53 and P-20, both in the East Marlim field; FPSO Capixaba, in the Baleia Franca field; P-43, in operation in the Barracuda field, and FPSO Cidade de Niteroi, in the East Marlim field.
Two other units were deployed to operate primarily in the pre-salt – FPSOs Cidade de Anchieta (2012) and the P-58 platform (2014), both for production in the fields of Jubarte, Baleia Azul, and Baleia Franca.
The significant volume produced per well in the Santos Basin pre-salt, around 25,000 bpd, is far above the industry’s average. Of the ten highest-producing wells in Brazil, nine are located in this area. The most productive is in the Lula field, with an average daily flow of 36,000 barrels of oil.
These results are due to the evolution of knowledge in geology and to the dynamic behavior of the accumulations, to the progressive increase of project efficiency, and to the introduction of the latest technologies. In recognition of the technological solutions that were critical to the successful implementation of the projects in the pre-salt, in May 2015 we were granted, for the third time, the OTC Distinguished Achievement Award for Companies, Organizations and Institutions, the most prestigious of the global offshore industry.
The combination of new technologies with the acceleration in the technical learning curve, focusing on costs and productivity, makes the pre-salt projects highly profitable. Among the new sources of oil currently in development in the world, the Brazilian pre-salt is recognized as one of the most competitive due to its high well productivity, low lifting costs, and to the application of innovative production technologies that we have developed together with our partners.
As a result of these factors, the average lifting cost has also been gradually reduced over the past few years. From $9.1 per barrel of oil equivalent (oil + gas), in 2014, to $8.3, in 2015, and less than $8 per barrel in the first quarter of this year. A very significant result, compared with the industry’s average, which hovers around the $15 per barrel of oil equivalent.
Investment costs in this frontier are also being reduced due to high reservoir productivity, which has required fewer wells per production system. In addition, improved well construction efficiency allows for a significant reduction in drilling and completion time. The combination of these factors is ensuring a significant reduction in investments in projects under construction and increasing their profitability. For example, the average time to build an offshore well in the Santos Basin pre-salt cluster used to be approximately 310 days until 2010. In 2015, that time dropped to 128 days and, in the first five months of this year, to about 89 days. The reduction achieved in the total well duration between 2010 and 2016 was 71%.
Early in the third quarter of this year, a new production system linked to FPSO Cidade de Saquarema will come into operation, also in the Santos Basin, which will be installed in the Lula field, Central Lula area. The platform will be capable of processing up to 150,000 barrels of oil and of compressing 6 million cubic meters of gas per day.