Brazil: Investments in exploration to reach U$1.5 billion in 2023, drilling up to 33 wells

(PN) Exploration of new oil wells in Brazil will receive around US$ 1.5 billion in investments in 2023. The forecast was revealed this week by the National Petroleum Agency (ANP), which published the data in a new panel dynamic on contracts in the exploration phase. The largest share of funds (US$ 1.1 billion) will be applied to the drilling of up to 33 new wells this year. Of this total, 22 wells will be drilled in onshore fields, while the remaining 11 will be offshore.

In the seismic part, the ANP estimates that the 2D seismic survey activities in 2023 will result in the acquisition of 2,646 km and the processing of 2,346 km. This year’s 3D seismic activities will cover 522 km² for acquisition and 925 km² for processing. The agency also foresees 21 tests of exploratory wells in 2023.

Exploratory activity in Brazil will remain heated for the next two years. Also according to the ANP, in 2024, the resources foreseen in exploratory areas will be approximately US$ 1.5 billion. Of this total, US$ 1.2 billion will be used to drill 36 new wells. As for 2025, the total estimated investment is around US$ 1.4 billion – of which US$ 1.2 billion will be earmarked specifically for drilling at least 18 new wells.

The exploration phase is the first of the contracts for oil and gas areas. At this stage, the explored areas are called blocks, and the companies carry out studies and activities (such as seismic surveys and well drilling) to detect the presence of oil and/or natural gas in sufficient quantity to make its extraction economically viable. If so, the company submits a declaration of commerciality to the ANP and the block (or part of it) becomes a producing field, initiating the production phase. If not, the company can return the block (or part of it) to the ANP.

The data released this week by the ANP are included in the Exploratory Work Plans (PTE) of the companies holding oil and gas exploration and production contracts. The PTE is the instrument by which the activities are specified, along with their respective schedules and budgets, for each block under contract, as well as for the period in which the remaining obligations are performed, activities linked to the decommissioning of facilities after the end of the contract of exploration and production in the exploration phase.

Previously, the ANP had already released a dynamic panel with forecasts of activities, investments and production of fields in the production phase. In this case, in 2023 alone, there will be US$ 22.8 billion in investments. The largest share of the resources will be destined for the Santos Basin (US$ 14.3 billion). Then comes the Campos Basin, with an estimated US$ 7.6 billion. For 2024, expected investments for fields already in production amount to almost US$ 26.6 billion.

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