Equinor delays Bacalhau, in the Santos Basin pre-salt, to 2025

(epbr) Equinor has delayed, from 2024 to 2025, the forecast for the start of production in the Bacalhau field, in the pre-salt of the Santos Basin, said the company’s president, Anders Opedal.

The pandemic, according to the executive, affected the project schedule as a whole in the global oil and gas industry. The Norwegian oil company is trying to mitigate the effects on its project portfolio.

“I think all projects have been hurt by Covid-19 and not just shipyards in Asia but all over the world and also in Norway. We are recovering from that now. And Geir [Tungesvik, Vice President of Design, Drilling and Procurement] and his team are making very good progress. We are on schedule with the Castberg project [in Norway], but the Bacalhau project in Brazil will be delivered in 2025,” said Opedal, during a conference with investors about the financial results for 2022.

Since the recovery of activities in the sector after the price shock of 2020, the oil industry has been living with delays in schedules and increased costs in the chain of goods and services.

Shell, for example, decided to reassess the project to develop production at Gato do Mato, discovered in exploratory blocks BM-S-54 and Sul de Gato do Mato, in the Santos Basin.

The company understands that significant cost increases, combined with continuous uncertainty, affect the progress of the project. The multinational wants more time to reassess the scope, development and hiring strategy for the field.

Bacalhau is Equinor’s main international project

Bacalhau is a project operated by Equinor (40%), in partnership with ExxonMobil (40%) and Petrogal (20%). Pré-Sal Petróleo S.A (PPSA) also participates in the consortium, as manager of the sharing contract.

It is the first Brazilian pre-salt project developed by a multinational since its declaration of commerciality. It is also Equinor’s largest project outside Norway.

The asset was acquired from Petrobras in 2016, when it was still in the exploration phase and was known for its main discovery: Carcará.

When in production, the contracted platform for Bacalhau Phase 1 will produce 220,000 barrels per day, at peak. The FPSO was contracted with the Japanese Modec.

At the end of 2022, Equinor started the drilling campaign for field development. In all, there will be 19 wells.

The Norwegian oil company has plans to develop a second production phase in Bacalhau, but the project has not yet been sanctioned.

In the first phase, the gas will be reinjected, and the company is still evaluating whether or not the strategy for Phase 2 will include the sale of natural gas.

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