A Monster Named Libra

New Wave Media

June 18, 2013

  • Libra 1
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  • Libra Prospect map Base Salt Depth
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  • Libra Prospect map Base Salt Depth Libra Prospect map Base Salt Depth

Back in 2009 I asked a good friend of my late father, who happened to be a long time Petrobras geologist, if he really knew the full potential of the pre-salt, after a while he looked up and said no not really, I know there are big fields out there, probably up to 10 billion boe in some reservoirs, possibly much more...

Well, Petrobras kept on drilling and when Libra was found northeast of the Lula field (5 to 8 billion barrels boe), in 2010, the expectations ran high. Maybe 3.7 billion boe, maybe 15 billion boe. Probably 7.9, those are the numbers the ANP had in 2010. By May 2011 the ANP was downgrading it to 5 billion barrels boe. By the end of 2012, there were already some rumors circulating that Libra could actually be much bigger than was being acknowledged by the ANP because of new data from test wells and extended well tests in the original play at well 2-ANP-0002A-RJS, located in Block SS-AP1.

The ANP has now confirmed that their most recent 3D seismic data, which was acquired shortly before the 11th round of bidding, (that happened last week), shows that the Libra field is massive, much larger than the largest estimate, and that the main reservoir has a column of 326.4 meters containing light oil rated at 27º API. These latest figures peg Libra as containing a whopping 26 to 42 billion barrels boe, of which the ANP expects 30% to be recoverable, this leaves the recoverable oil figures at 8 to 12 billion barrels boe.

At this point Brazil has around 15 billion barrels boe of proven reserves and another 15 billion expected reserves, when counting all the pre-salt and post-salt. With the new number for Libra, the final figure will possibly triple. Libra is located northeast of the Lula field in an area of around 1,500 square km, (which is about 1% of the total pre-salt area in southeast Brazil). The Libra field is around 180km from the coast of Rio.

This really shakes up the O&G market, not only in Brazil, but the World market itself and the ANP has already confirmed that the Libra field will be in the next round of pre-salt bidding and has actually anticipated the bidding round to October 2013 in place of the natural gas bidding round that will now be in November. That shows the magnitude of this reservoir and there is no doubt that there will be a vicious dispute by operators to acquire it, even with Petrobras being the operator with a minimum of 30% shares. This is also a deepwater play, with the main well at over 1,900 meters. This also highlights the fact that there is no estimate for the total potential for reserves within the known pre-salt area. There is also the fact that the whole pre-salt are along the Brazilian coast is unknown, even the extent of the Santos Basin itself is unknown and that there is still a good possibility to uncover pre-salt reservoirs along Brazil’s northeast and north coasts.

Libra Prospect Map (Base Salt Depth)

Paschoa, Claudio
Claudio Paschoa is Marine Technology Reporter's correspondent in Brazil.
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