What makes some oil plays more valuable than others? The answer: big discoveries in excellent reservoirs that are cheap to exploit. Few places on earth do all three. Brazil does, as I was reminded on a trip to Rio last month. Its pre-salt Santos basin fields, such as Lula and Libra, have these attributes in abundance.
The reservoirs in these giants lie at the “Goldilocks” depth – not too expensive to drill, but deep enough for oil to flow freely to surface. Individual wells in the exceptional pre-salt carbonate reservoirs can produce up to 50,000 barrels in a single day – a good Permian fracked well takes two months to do that. Many producing wells are choked because the subsea flow lines or platform just can’t cope with the sheer volumes. Nice work if you can get it.