Petrobras enters new phase of exploration

September 12, 2018

Less than a year after acquiring Peroba, in the Santos Basin pre-salt, Petrobras plans to start the exploratory campaign in the area next month. The drilling marks a new cycle of exploration of the company, concentrated in the 20 assets acquired in the auctions of the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) since last year.

In addition to Petrobras, other companies such as Equinor (formerly Statoil) and Shell have plans to accelerate pre-salt drilling in newly acquired areas.

The beginning of the drilling of the Brazilian state-owned company in Peroba takes place only nine months after the signing of the acquisition agreement for the area in January. The asset was sold in October, in the 3rd Round of pre-salt sharing, for R $ 2 billion, of which R $ 800 million was paid by the Brazilian state-owned company. Petrobras operates the area with 40%, in partnership with BP (40%) and the Chinese CNODC (20%).

In addition to Peroba, Petrobras is also preparing to drill in the Alto do Cabo Frio Central (Campos Basin) area, also acquired in the 3rd Round of the pre-salt, and in the SC-AP3 sector, which concentrates the six exploration blocks in the Campos Basin awarded by the Brazilian state company in partnership with ExxonMobil in the 14th Concessions Round, also in 2017. Petrobras has already started the environmental licensing process for these two campaigns.

In a presentation to investors this week, the state company said that Peroba’s drilling marks a “new dynamics of the exploratory phase”, after the company has expanded its exploration area by 31% since 2017.

In all, the oil company has already paid R $ 6.15 billion in the acquisition of 20 blocks since last year. For the 5th Round of Sharing, scheduled for the 28th, the company has already declared the preemptive right for the acquisition of one more asset: Southwest of Tartaruga Verde, an area adjacent to the Tartaruga Verde field, operated by the company in the Campos Basin.

Equinor is another company that has plans for the pre-salt in the short term. The Norwegian oil company expects to begin the drilling of Carcará Norte in the pre-salt of the Santos Basin, an area adjacent to the Carcará discovery. Last week, the company received the environmental license to drill in the area, completed in the second round of pre-salt sharing, in 2017.

Altogether, Equinor intends to drill in the next two years up to five “high impact” wells in the Campos and Santos basins. The company believes the potential of its exploratory portfolio in Brazil is comparable to the company’s giant discoveries on the Norwegian coast of the 1970s and 1980s.

Since last year, the oil company has already paid R $ 2.376 billion in signing bonus for the acquisition of seven exploration blocks in the ANP auctions. Only Carcará Norte was acquired under the condition of operator. Shell also adopted the strategy of anticipating the licensing of contracts awarded in the pre-salt rounds last year. The company is already licensing well drilling in the areas of Gato do Mato Sul and Alto de Cabo Frio Oeste, both assets located in the Santos Basin, and intends to start drilling campaigns in 2019.

The multinational has, since last year, eight exploratory blocks, four of them as operator. In all, the company disbursed R $ 1.245 billion for assets.

Source: Valor

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