(PetroNoticias) The exploratory success in neighboring Suriname and Guyana, nations that entered the world oil and gas map after relevant discoveries on their coast, is a strong indication that the Brazilian portion of the Equatorial Margin also has great potential to become a new oil and gas production hub in the country. The topic was debated this week during a virtual seminar organized by the National Petroleum Agency (ANP), in which detailed studies were carried out on the Pará-Maranhão/Barreirinhas, Potiguar and Foz do Amazonas Basins. The work was carried out by the State University of Norte Fluminense (UENF) based on data provided by the regulatory body. Research has concluded that all three of these areas bring together evidence that indicates potential active petroleum systems. ANP director Raphael Moura, who opened the event, highlighted the strategic importance behind possible new developments in oil and gas projects in the Equatorial Margin region.
The agency’s director says he believes in the potential of the Equatorial Margin as a catalyst for development in the North and Northeast of Brazil. “The Brazilian Equatorial Margin is strategic, because we have high potential for discoveries of light oil, with greater commercial value. In addition, the geopolitical location is strategic, close to the largest consumer markets in the world. It is a region [referring to the states of the North and Northeast] whose human development index is lower than the Brazilian average. So, the possibility of expanding industrial activities [in this area] is a strategic interest in our country”, he said.
During the presentation of the papers, the UENF researchers highlighted the main conclusions of the research. In the Pará-Maranhão Basin, three plays were studied: shallow water, faulted shelf border and deep and ultra-deep waters. The survey indicated potential for oil and gas generation for these three plays, considering the top of the oil window in the Gulf of Guinea basins.
The study also reinforced that recent discoveries in the African Equatorial Rim and French Guiana present strong evidence of petroleum systems active in deep waters, with similar source rocks and reservoirs, on both sides of the conjugated margins. Along the same lines, the Foz do Amazonas and Potiguar basins also presented plays and probably active oil systems, indicating an enormous potential in these two areas. The works were presented by researchers Hélio Severiano Ribeiro, Carolina Amorim da Cruz and Ediane Batista da Silva.
The Equatorial Margin of Brazil was the main focus of the 11th Round, held in 2013. In that auction, several exploratory blocks from the Amazon Basin to the Potiguar Basin were made available. The purpose of the tender was precisely to replicate the model of accumulation recently discovered on the west coast of Africa, which culminated in the discovery of numerous oil fields on the coast of that continent.
However, after more than eight years, Brazil has still not been able to advance with the blocks that were sold at that time. Today, there are only 3 wells drilled in water depths above 2,000 meters on the Equatorial Margin. The most emblematic case that symbolizes the challenges of exploring the area is the Foz do Amazonas Basin, where Total and BP recently sold their stakes in six concessions in the region to Petrobras. As the market already knows, Total tried for years to obtain an environmental license to drill in the area, but ran into environmental issues.
“Our side of the Equatorial Margin is located in the same geological context as Guyana and Suriname. Within this process, due to the discoveries in the Equatorial Margin of these countries, we have a great interest and urgency in knowing the potential of our side in this region”, highlighted Raphael Moura. Neighboring countries, in turn, are managing to accelerate these offshore projects. In Guyana, for example, ExxonMobil announced the discovery of the Liza field in 2015 and in 2019 it started production in the area. The asset has 8 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Total also announced discoveries in Suriname, with equally expressive volumes.