Located in the Santos Basin pre-salt area, the Libra block is one of our major bets for the future. In addition to concentrating high potential volumes of oil and gas, it has an enormous capacity to drive the development of innovative technologies for the entire industry.
While the Campos Basin was the starting point of our deep water technology journey, the Santos Basin pre-salt pushed the company to develop a new oil and gas frontier, unparalleled in the industry — about 300 km off the coast, under high pressures, and in unique reservoir conditions.
The Libra block, also located in the pre-salt, represents a step forward for featuring unprecedented challenges that include the presence of high levels of carbon dioxide associated with an ultra-deep water depth that reaches more than 2,000 meters.
Under these extremely adverse conditions, we achieved milestones that were recognized as pioneers for the oil and gas industry. These are the “5 Firsts:”
1: ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTION
We conducted the first offshore Extended Well Test (EWT) that reused the carbon dioxide that was produced to increase reservoir productivity. This innovation is considered environmentally correct because it prevents continuous gas burning, avoiding the emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The purpose of the EWT is to evaluate well productivity and the behavior of the reservoir, which is formed under kilometers of salt and marked by volcanic faults and intrusions. By collecting data from the reservoir, this method helped to strengthen the risk management strategy to unravel uncertainties and accelerate production at the Libra block.
2: A SINGLE WELL SETS A PRODUCTION RECORD
In September 2018, a single well in Libra produced an average of 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boed), a world record. This expressive result confirmed, under challenging conditions, not only the area’s high productivity, but also the excellence of the reservoir.
3: TWO INCHES MORE IS A LOT
For the first time, we used 8-inch (about 20 cm) ducts in ultra-deep waters, which support higher pressure and oil flow. This two-inch increase in the ducts reflected in a production increase of 15,000 boed. Until then, the practice had been using ducts of up to 6 inches.
4: UNPRECEDENTED METHOD
Another milestone was the first pre-launch of flexible lines (pipelines) with floats in ultra-deep waters. To get an idea of the greatness of this method, each line curve has a height of 600m, or the equivalent of almost two Empire State Buildings underwater.
This method allowed the installation of the submarine equipment structure even before the arrival of the Pioneiro de Libra platform vessel, which operated the EWT in 2018. As a result, well production was anticipated in 43 days compared to the conventional deadlines, and the practice will be replicated to speed up the start of production of the next Libra projects.
5: A TURRET WITH THE LARGEST SUPPORT
In Libra, we developed the turret with the highest vertical load capacity of external turrets in ultra-deep waters in the industry. The equipment can support 700 tons of underwater lines, equivalent to the weight of four Boeing 747s.
The turret consists of anchoring equipment used in FPSO-type vessels. The various pipes that connect the wells to the platform run through it. By concentrating them at a single point of entry, the FPSO can rotate on its own axis to remain aligned to the wind and current without, for example, entangling the cables and piping connected to it.
Learn more about these technologies watching our video Libra EWT Project - A Legacy to the Industry.