The recent oil discoveries in pre-salt layers under certain Petrobras concession areas in the Campos Basin are already being considered significant and tend to offer the possibility of production start-up in a much shorter time frame than the major pre-salt discoveries in the Santos Basin. This is due to the fact that the fields under which these new discoveries are located already have production infrastructure in place and whatever new subsea wellheads are installed will only need to be connected to one of the FPSOs, FSOs or rigs already in place. This distribution will be done by new subsea flowlines and riser being installed with no need for new surface infrastructure, thus decreasing the CAPEX and probably also the OPEX involved.
Since March 2010, pre-salt accumulations have been uncovered at the Marlim, Caratinga and Barracuda fields in the Campos Basin. At Barracuda post-salt and pre-salt reservoirs were discovered by a single well drilled and there are expectations that this may happen again around there. The new discovery at the Albacora Leste field is located around 50 km north of the previous discoveries showing the extent of salt layers, which may extend even beyond the northern boundary of the Campos Basin.
Specialists agree that the pre-salt reservoirs at the Campos Basin aren´t nearly big as the pre-salt reservoirs at the Santos Basin, but some still think there is still a possibility of uncorking at least one major pre-salt reservoir at the Campos Basin.
The Campos Basin pre-salt discoveries are still considered important and substantial, especially when considering expectations that more reservoirs will be discovered and the relatively short time needed to get these new reservoirs producing.
The new pre-salt layer discovered, was the result of the drilling of 6-ABL-57D-RJS well, located in Albacora Leste field, below the sandstone layer producer. This discovery is situated 130 km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, in water depth of 1,956 meters and at total depth of 4,536 meters.
Preliminary estimates suggest the accumulation is of light, good-quality oil, but further drilling will be required to assess not only the volumes, extent, and productivity of these reservoirs, but also the possibility of using the existing production and offloading infrastructure in the area. The Albacora Leste field is operated by Petrobras (90%) and developed in partnership with Repsol (10%).
Map courtesy of Petrobras