Almost a year after starting the production of the Mero field (northwestern part of Libra), in the pre-salt of the Santos Basin, Petrobras concluded this month a first cycle of tests in the area. At the same time that it prepares new tests, the company starts to buy goods and services for the project, which must require investments of more than US $ 20 billion from the state and its partners in the coming years.
Acquired in the first auction of the sharing regime in 2013, for R $ 15 billion, by the consortium formed between Petrobras (40%), Shell (20%), Total (20%) and Chinese companies CNPC (10%) and CNOOC (10%), the Libra area is seen by the state as one of its three largest pre-salt treasures, along with the Lula and Búzios fields. The recoverable reserves of the asset are estimated at 3.3 billion barrels.
The field has been operating since November 2017 in a long-term test phase through a provisional platform with a capacity of 50,000 barrels per day. According to data from the National Petroleum Agency (ANP), Mero’s only well was, since April, the most productive in the country, reaching 45 thousand barrels per day of oil.
The final production of the project is expected to begin in mid-2021, with the first platform of 180,000 barrels per day of capacity being put into operation. The Petrobras forecast is to put another platform in operation by the end of 2022 and another two in 2024, all with the same capacity as the first.
Libra’s executive manager, Fernando Borges, tells Valor that hiring has intensified and that the consortium is currently seeking suppliers for a series of packages of goods and services, including the definitive second platform, submarine equipment and drilling rigs. The field’s first definitive platform has already been contracted with Japan’s Modec last year.
With the flexibility of the local content rules, Libra’s percentages were reduced to 25% for well construction, 40% for the collection and disposal system and 40% for the commitments associated with the contracting of the platform. The original indices were 55% to 59% for development of production.
“Even so, this [40% for platform] percentage remains a great challenge to achieve, but we believe that with the national industry becoming more and more capable, we can reach or exceed the limits required today,” he said. the executive.
The state-owned company now faces an extra challenge with the local content of the first platform. This is because the contract with Modec predicts an index of about 17%. Borges explains that in the drilling of the exploratory wells the company has exceeded the contractual percentages and that the idea is to use part of this local content surplus to reduce the nationalization commitments of the platform.
“In addition, we have talked to Modec, stressing the importance of local suppliers participating [in addition to the indices provided in contract] … The idea is to convince that in certain services it may be advantageous to contract in Brazil , because the technical assistance and replacement is local, “he said.
Borges explains that during the first test cycle, between November 2017 and October of this year, the consortium was able to collect important information about the behavior of the reservoir, such as the identification of high CO2 content. At this moment the field is stopped, for adjustments, but the idea is to start this year the new test phase with a new gas injector well, this time closer to the producing well.
“The goal is to seek the best possible design to maximize the [oil] recovery factor of the deposit,” he said.
Mero is in the northwestern part of the Libra block. Petrobras is still lacking in exploring the area beyond the boundaries of the field. The consortium has made a commitment to the ANP to drill, by 2020, at least one well for exploration of new oil and gas discoveries in the region.