Carcará - Another Big Pre-salt Play in Brazil

New Wave Media

January 23, 2014

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The Carcará oilfield off the Brazilian coast is named for a bird of prey that is liberally known as the Brazilian Eagle, its scientic name is: Polyborus Plancus. Carcará located in Block BM-S-8 is believed to hold one of the thickest reservoirs ever discovered in Brazil's Santos Basin pre-salt cluster, with a reservoir thickness of 471 meters. The play is being developed by a consortium composed of Petrobras (66%), Galp Energy (14%), and Brazilian players QGEP and Barra Energia with (10%) each.

Tested flow rates and reservoir conditions at the Carcará discovery are superior to the famous Lula field. The Lula field, which is currently producing about 100,000 bopd, is estimated to hold recoverable reserves of between 5 billion and 8 billion boe. Development of Carcará will still take some time, with development drilling planned for 2016 and 2017. First oil is expected by 2018, yet this many certainly decrease if no major problems occur. The size of the reservoir has the companies developing it expecting to need a number of FPSOs for the production phase, which is certainly good news for the FPSO market.

This recently updated information on Carcará also highlights the fact that there is still potential for large pre-salt finds along the vast offshore area known as the Santos Basin. As more advanced seismic studies using new seismic technologies and procedures, such as coiled tubing seismic surveys, are undertaken and more exploratory wells drilled, some experienced local geologists believe that a significant number of new large pre-salt discoveries at the Santos Basin are imminent and that some of the other oil basins off the Southeast, Northeast and North Coasts also hold potential for significantly large pre-salt reservoirs.

If local industries that support O&G exploration and production in Brazil can grow quickly enough to safely supply Petrobras’ demand, we may see pre-salt production increase quicker than expected. However, such setbacks as the exploration well at Carcará that had to be abandoned today due to "operational problems", may still set the production time frame back, even if local industry does keep up, which is still a big “if”. These exploration problems that lead to well aboandonment also should remind the industry that there is real risk of a deepwater blow-out in one of the exploration wells and that deepwater oil spill containment and clean-up assests in Brazil, are still marginal, at best. A new well will be drilled in two phases starting in the second quarter of 2014 and a test of the cemented well is expected during 2015.

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