Petrobras Approves First Offshore Heavy Oil Development

Dow Jones Newswires

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones Newswires), Jun. 17, 2009

Brazil state-controlled oil company Petrobras (PBR) has approved the development project for its Siri field in the Campos Basin, the Estado news agency reported Wednesday.

The field will be the first in the world to produce extra heavy oil from an offshore site, the report said.

Siri field, off the coast of southeast Brazil, has been in production tests since the end of March. The plan now is to contract production equipment in 2011.

Speaking at the Brazil Offshore 2009 conference at Macae in Rio de Janeiro State, Siri project coordinator Andre Moco said the plan approved by the company involves installing two drilling platforms connected to a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, or FPSO.

The FPSO will have 100,000 barrels a day capacity and is scheduled to start operating between 2015 and 2016.

The project's costs and timetable will be evaluated by the Petrobras board in September, the report said.

Siri has recoverable reserves of 270 million barrels of heavy oil, at around 12.3 degrees on the American Petroleum Institute's rating scale, which need special extraction and processing technology.

In tests, Siri is producing 10,000 barrels a day.

Moco said development of the project will serve as a test for Brazil's sub-salt deposits, given Siri is similar to the giant reserves in the Santos Basin, also off southeast Brazil.

However, Siri doesn't have any salt presence.

According to Moco, Petrobras is working on technology to raise the recovery factor of the field, which has nearly 3 billion barrels of oil in place, of which 10% are recoverable.

"I think we can reach a recovery factor of 12%," Moco said after presenting the project at the conference.  

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