Petrobras granted extra time for Potiguar work

State giant carrying out appraisal work on deep-water discoveries Pitu and Tango

THE Brazilian National Petroleum Agency (ANP) has given Petrobras more time to carry out appraisal work at two deep-water discoveries in Block BM-POT-17 in the Potiguar basin in the northern equatorial margin.

Petrobras drilled two wells in BM-POT-17 in 2013 with the Diamond Offshore semi-submersible rig Ocean Courage in water depths of more than 1700 metres.

The first probe, Tango, was targeting a potential analogue off the country’s north-east coast to the giant Jubilee field off Ghana, but was deemed uncommercial.

However, Petrobras made a groundbreaking discovery with the follow-up well, Pitu, proving the existence of an active petroleum system in the region.

An appraisal well to test hydrocarbons to the north, Pitu North, was also a hit.

It is understood that the encouraging results at Pitu persuaded Petrobras to give Tango a second try.

Petrobras was meant to spud an optional well at Tango by December, but asked the ANP for extra time to conduct operations in the new frontier play.

The regulator gave Petrobras until October 2019 to decide on the campaign.

Regarding Pitu, the ANP agreed to extend the exploration period by 26 months, until August 2019. Petrobras also has an option to spud a new well in the area.

If Petrobras proceeds with the drilling of both wells in Tango and Pitu, the company will have until late 2021 to file a declaration of commerciality for both discoveries.

Separately, Petrobras has decided to relinquish its rights to the Pirapitanga and Piracuca fields in the Santos basin. Pirapitanga is part of a cluster of fields in the northern portion of the Santos basin that also includes the Urugua, Tambau, Carapia and Tambuata natural gas developments.

Pirapitanga was declared commercial in late 2006 but never entered into production.

Petrobras also returned the Piracuca gas field to the ANP, almost two decades after it made the first discovery in the area formerly known as Block BM-S-7. Before the huge pre-salt discoveries, Petrobras and partner Repsol Sinopec planned to deploy a small floating production, storage and offloading vessel with capacity to produce 25,000 barrels per day of condensates and 2 million cubic metres per day of gas at Piracuca in 2015.

The shallow-water Piracuca field was estimated to hold 550 million barrels of oil equivalent in place, and was intended to produce until 2031.

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