Equinor, ExxonMobil, Petrogal Brasil and Pré-sal Petróleo SA (PPSA) have decided to develop Phase 1 of the Bacalhau field, located in a pre-salt area of the Santos Basin, offshore of Brazil.
The field was discovered by Petrobras in 2012, and has been operated by Equinor since 2016. It consists of two licences, BM-S-8 and Norte de Carcará.
Bacalhau will be the first greenfield development in the pre-salt by an international operator. The development will comprise 19 subsea wells tied back to a floating production, storage and offloading unit (FPSO).
This will be one of the largest FPSOs in Brazil with a production capacity of 220,000 barrels per day and two million barrels in storage capacity. The stabilised oil will be offloaded to shuttle tankers and the gas from Phase 1 will be re-injected in the reservoir.
MODEC will operate the FPSO for the first year. Thereafter, Equinor plans to operate the facilities until the end of the licence period.
Significant efforts have been made to reduce emissions from the production phase, including implementing a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine system to increase the energy efficiency of the power station. This gives an efficient electrical power production and flexible heat supply.
Lifetime average CO2 intensity is expected to be less than 9 kg per barrel produced, significantly lower than the global average of 17 kg per barrel. Work will continue through the lifetime of the field to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency.
Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor’s executive vice president for Projects, Drilling and Procurement, said good cooperation with partners, Brazilian authorities and suppliers resulted in an investment decision for the Bacalhau field.
“Bacalhau is a globally competitive project with a break even below US$35 in a key energy region. Estimated recoverable reserves for the first phase are more than one billion barrels of oil,” Mr Nylund said.
Veronica Coelho, Equinor’s country manager in Brazil, commented: “Bacalhau is an important step towards the realisation of our strategic ambition to deepen our presence in Brazil. It is also an important project for the country, as it represents significant investments, ripple effects in the supply chain and local job creation.”
Juan Lessmann, Lead Country Manager for ExxonMobil in Brazil, said the development of the Bacalhau field is a strategic investment and has the potential to bring high returns for ExxonMobil, their partners and the Brazilian people.
“This project has progressed due to the strong collaboration between ExxonMobil, Equinor, Petrogal and the government,” Mr Lessmann said.
Eduardo Gerk, PPSA’s President Director, added: “The Bacalhau field is an accomplishment over high-complexity technical challenges, without losing track of the positive economic and social aspects.”
“The Bacalhau field represents the great benefit that foreign companies can bring to the development of the pre-salt and Brazil.”
First oil is planned in 2024. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related uncertainties, project plans may be adjusted in response to health and safety restrictions.
Partners in Bacalhau: Equinor 40 per cent (operator), ExxonMobil 40 per cent, Petrogal Brasil 20 per cent and Pré-sal Petróleo SA (Government company, PSA Manager).