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Offshore Oil Production

Offshore Oil Production in Santos Basin, Brazil, Kicks Off

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

Petrobras tanker leaving a Brazilian harbour. The country has become an independent producer of heavy crudes, yet still imports lighter crudes for the processing of domestic oil.
Petrobras tanker leaving a Brazilian harbour. The country has become an independent producer of heavy crudes, yet still imports lighter crudes for the processing of domestic oil. (Picture: Petrobras)

Petrobras announced the start of commercial oil production in the Sapinhoá field in the Santos Basin pre-salt formation, off the coast of Brazil. On January fifth, the platform Cidade de São Paulo started to produce oil and natural gas from the field's BM-S-9 block.

Rio de Janeiro/Brazil – The Sapinhoá field starts to go on–stream ahead of schedule, Petrobras speakers explained, as production kicked off at the Cidade de São Paulo FPSO platform (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading). Well 1-SPS-55, the first one to be interconnected to the platform, can produce over 25,000 barrels of intermediate density (30º API) oil per day that is brought onshore by tankers.

The rig is anchored in 2,140 meters of water, 310 km off the coast, and is capable of processing 120,000 barrels of oil and 5 million m3 of gas per day. Production though will be restricted to 15,000 barrels of oil per day, until the commissioning of natural gas processing and reinjection systems is concluded which is expected to last 90 days.

One of the Biggest Offshore Oilfields in Brazil

The gas not used for reinjection will be transported through the Sapinhoá-Lula-Mexilhão Gas Pipeline to the Monteiro Lobato Gas Treatment Unit, located in Caraguatatuba, on the São Paulo state coast. Another 10 wells (five production and five injection) will be interconnected to the platform in the coming months. Peak production of 120,000 barrels of oil per day is expected for the first half of 2014.

The Sapinhoá field is one of the biggest oil fields in Brazil with a total recoverable volume estimated at 2.1bn barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and goes into commercial production four and a half years after it was discovered in July/2008. Expansion plans also include a second platform: FPSO Cidade de Ilhabela, whose hull is being converted, and will have capacity for 150,000 barrels of oil per day and 6 million m3/day of gas. It is expected to go on stream in the second half of 2014. The BM-S-9block is operated by a partnership of Petrobras (45%), BG E&P Brasil Ltda (30%) and Repsol Sinopec Brasil (25%).

More about the latest developments on the American oil and petroleum markets? Read also "Big Oil" in the Americas: New Prospects in South American Offshore Drillings"!

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