Petrobras to begin Tupi pilot production in 2009

Petrobras plans to start oil production from its giant Tupi field in the Santos basin off Rio de Janeiro state in March 2009, the company's chief executive told reporters Aug. 1 in London.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Aug. 4 -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) plans to start oil production from its giant Tupi field in the Santos basin off Rio de Janeiro state in March 2009, the company's chief executive told reporters Aug. 1 in London.

Jose Sergio Gabrielli said initial output in the pilot project would be 20,000-30,000 b/d. This is expected to rise to 100,000 b/d in 2010.

Tupi, which holds an estimated 5-8 billion bbl of oil reserves, is challenging because it is in a frontier presalt reservoir deeper at 2,100 m than discoveries in the Campos basin and further in distance—300-km compared with 150-km for Campos.

Consequently, Tupi also poses logistical difficulties in accessing the deposit, and Petrobras faces rising costs in a tight services market. Petrobras is keen to focus its personnel on developing the field quickly, which could boost Brazil's current 14 billion bbl oil and gas reserves by more than 50%.

The country's president has established a group to investigate whether a separate oil company should develop Brazil's subsalt reserves. It will present its proposal within the next few months, Gabrielli said. He is a member of the group.

Last year, Petrobras announced a business plan of $112.4 billion for 2008-12, but this did not include Tupi. Gabrielli said the company would have to increase its borrowing, and new figures would be unveiled in September or October. Petrobras will order 28 new drilling rigs during 2013-17.

"We have to increase our debt, because the amount of money we need for capital expenditure will be very big," said Gabrielli.

He told investors the company plans to produce 1.95 million b/d of oil next year, and production will rise to 2.42 million b/d in 2012 and 2.81 million b/d in 2015.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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