The development of the Libra block, in the Santos Basin pre-salt, prompted Petrobras and partners to embark on a journey of unique innovation. The peculiar conditions of the mine, unparalleled in the industry – with a high presence of carbon dioxide and contaminants, in ultra-deep waters of up to 2,200 meters – led the company to design state-of-the-art solutions.
But why embark on this challenge? Potential volumes of oil found in Libra were very expressive and well outflows were above the industry average. To get an idea, the thickness of the first oil column identified in the area was equivalent to the height of the Empire State Building. There was no doubt that this was one of the most promising offshore industry projects in terms of productivity and innovation potential.
Professionals in engineering, geophysics, geology and other disciplines faced the challenge of creating technologies that could produce a reservoir with unique characteristics, 300 kilometers off the Brazilian coast, under high pressure, with a presence of 44% of carbon dioxide.
With the collaboration of partners, Petrobras was able to reduce overall costs and accelerate the pace of implementation of the long-term tests essential for obtaining information on the reservoir and production. Already in the first test, last year, the company hit a new record: a single well produced 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe).
In this test, the five unprecedented solutions developed for the project – presented at the 50th edition of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, May 6-9, were incorporated. The first one was the full utilization of the carbon dioxide produced to increase the productivity of the reservoir. The solution, environmentally correct, besides increasing the oil recovery of the deposit, avoids the ventilation of this gas to the atmosphere.
Another innovation was the use of turret (or vertical tower) – with the highest load ever used in an outer turret in ultra-deep waters by industry – interconnected to up to three wells. The high pressure of the reservoirs, coupled with the high productivity of the wells, required the installation of this vertical tower with sufficient capacity to withstand a great load.
The company dared to do the pre-launch operation of flexible lines with buoys on the seabed – before even hiring the platforms. The objective was to accelerate the development of production and, consequently, the financial return of the project. It was the first time performed this type of operation on ultra-deep water.
And the future of the project is promising: the prospect is to install four new systems of definitive production in Libra in the coming years – a permanent innovation movement for the company and industry.