Petrobras Aims to Move Up Tupi Field Pilot Installation

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones), Dec. 8, 2009

Brazilian state-run energy company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, wants to move up the installation of a pilot production project at the Tupi offshore oil field, the company's exploration and production director said Tuesday.

"We're going full-force to install the pilot project early," Petrobras' Guilherme Estrella said at an event for journalists in Rio de Janeiro.

Petrobras is aiming to install the pilot project at least two months early. Previous plans pegged the 120,000-barrel-a-day pilot project for December 2010.

A floating production, storage and offload vessel, or FPSO, for the program is currently under construction in China, Estrella said.

Petrobras still needs to drill about six more wells for the project, the executive added. The current long-term well test is going according to schedule and "without any problems," Estrella added.

About six or seven drilling rigs are currently operating in Brazil's offshore subsalt oil region.

In addition to the Tupi pilot project, Estrella confirmed that the Guara prospect will be targeted for a second long-term well test in the first half of 2010. The test will be similar to the one underway at Tupi, producing about 20,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The head of Santos Basin exploration, Jose Luiz Marcusso, said Monday that the Guara well test would start in May 2010.

The so-called subsalt oil deposits are located in the Santos Basin off the coast of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo states. Development of the reserves is expected to be pricey and complicated, with the reservoirs under 2,000 meters of water and a further 5,000 meters below sand, rocks and salt.

In November 2007, Petrobras estimated Tupi had recoverable reserves of between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or BOE.

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