The Campos Basin pre-salt shows its potential even if volumes are less than at the Santos Basin, as various factors related to logistics, production timeline and development costs make this possibility very attractive to players and specially to Petrobras.
As is widely known, the Campos Basin is presently responsible for over 80% of the Brazilian O&G production. The discoveries indicate the existence of hydrocarbons in both the pre-salt and the post-salt layers in a single well at the Barracuda field in the Campos Basin, 100km from the coast of Rio de Janeiro.
The possibility of a second Campos Basin in the pre-salt depths, containing light oil in contrast to the mainly heavy oil of the mature wells in the Campos Basin, would be a definite boost to the already growing Brazilian O&G market. The capex for pre-salt production will be much lower in the Campos Basin than in the Santos Basin since surface infrastructure is mostly already in place and investments would be mainly towards subsea infrastructure.
The post-salt Campos Basin in responsible for 1,61 million barrels/day from the present total of 1,97 million b/d produced in Brazil.
The volumes of light oil in these new discoveries are 25 and 40 million, which although not extraordinary, are still significant, as this is from only one well. For example, if 10 wells with similar characteristics were found along the Campos Basin, it would then be quite significant indeed.
The fact that the surface production infrastructure is already in place makes it a good deal anyway, since that fact will not only cut development costs but also speed up getting the production online, whereas the Santos Basin fields will take longer to come online.
The only field in the Santos Basin to have begun production is the Tupi field, which is still only in a low level pilot production phase and nowhere near its expected production volume.
Petrobras forecasts a need for at least 10 rigs in the Santos Basin in order to extract its estimated volume of 1 billion barrels, which is why the estimate for the beginning of large scale production in the Santos Basin is around 2017. These new discoveries in the pre/post salt Campos Basin can begin production about a year after discovery and the same is true for any other discoveries with these characteristics that may happen in the Campos Basin.
Photo courtesy of Petrobras