The absence of proposals in the 5th Round of the Pre-salt, last Friday, is far from signifying a lack of interest from the Norwegian oil company Equinor for Brazil. For the company, which has annual global revenues of US $ 61.2 billion and plans to invest US $ 15 billion in Brazil by 2030, the country has become a priority for the group and has the best areas available worldwide today.
“We are very pleased with the portfolio we have and how successful we have been in the last two years [in Brazil],” Equinor’s global exploration vice president Tim Dodson told Valor.
“The best blocks in Brazil are basically the best blocks available in the world. It is difficult to pinpoint another place that has better prospective potential with areas with a high probability of success. This is not a usual combination. That is why I believe that the Brazilian pre-salt is something unique at the moment. ”
Dodson was responsible for distributing an annual budget of US $ 1.5 billion in exploratory activities, without considering amounts spent to acquire areas or payment of subscription bonuses (data for 2017), Dodson was in Brazil last week, where he participated in the Rio Oil & Gas, the largest event of the Brazilian oil industry, and met with partners in assets in the country and with representatives of the National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP) and the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
With local authorities, Dodson praised the establishment of a multiyear calendar of exploratory area bids. “It makes the job easier for the industry. You can look at the opportunities as much as you want and then you’ll be able to prioritize whatever you want.”
Asked about this month’s election and the risk of a government running counter to the industry’s opening from next year, Dodson said he had no concerns about the issue. “When a company has such a big business in the country, especially in oil and gas, you can not think of a presidential time period of four years. You have to think long term. We are more than comfortable to operate in Brazil” , he explained.
According to the executive, more important than the pace of new auctions is the predictability that a government can give investors.
Asked also about the environmental requirements for oil activities in Brazil, Equinor’s vice president said that the Brazilian case is not “very different” from other countries and that the company has no problems in Brazil in this regard. According to him, the most important thing is for the company to have extensive dialogue with the environmental agencies and to fulfill the requests made by them, to obtain the necessary licenses.
With partners in Brazil, the company has discussed plans for the exploratory campaign for next year. According to Dodson, however, the matter is not yet closed and, therefore, he was not able to specify the amount that will be invested in exploration in Brazil in 2019.
In the portfolio of 17 exploration areas that Equinor has in Brazil, one of the highlights is the Carcará area, in the Santos Basin pre-salt, where the company operates with a 40% stake and intends to accelerate the exploration campaign.
The company, which currently produces about 90,000 barrels per day in Brazil, plans to start the second phase of production at the Peregrino field between 2019 and 2020. In the Roncador giant field, also in the Campos Basin, where the group acquired a stake of 25% of Petrobras, the goal is to raise the recovery factor of the area by 5%. “Five percent of something very large is very significant, probably half a billion barrels [of oil equivalent],” the executive added.
Even with the number of projects to be explored and developed in Brazil, Equinor has plans to expand its operations in the country. “Despite everything we’ve gained, you may see Equinor active in one or more auctions. It’s much more a matter of which auctions and which areas we find most attractive,” Dodson explained.