The discoveries made in the pre-salt are among the world’s most important in the past decade. The pre-salt province comprises large accumulations of excellent quality, high commercial value light oil. A reality that puts us in a strategic position to meet the great global demand for energy.
Daily oil output at the pre-salt progressed from the average of approximately 41,000 barrels per day, in 2010, to 1 million barrels per day in mid-2016. A nearly 24-fold increase.
To discover these reserves and operate efficiently in deep waters, we have developed our own technology and work in collaboration with suppliers, universities, and research centers. We hire drilling rigs, production platforms, ships, and submarines, with features that set the entire energy industry chain into motion.
For the pioneering technologies we developed with partners and suppliers, we were granted in 2015, for the third time, the OTC Distinguished Achievement Award for Companies, Organizations, and Institutions – the highest technology recognition an oil company can get as an offshore operator.
The 1-million-barrel-of-oil-per-day mark in the pre-salt was achieved less than ten years after the first discovery in this geological layer, and only two years after we reached 500,000 barrels per day there, in 2014.
A comparison with our own production history shows the dimensions of this result: It took 45 years from its creation for our company to reach the production of the first million barrels of oil, in 1998.
This accelerated growth in production proves the high productivity of the wells in operation in the pre-salt, and represents a significant milestone in the oil industry, especially because the fields are located in deep and ultradeep waters.
A fact that shows, comparatively, the high productivity of the pre-salt is that in 1984, the company needed 4,108 producing wells to reach the 500-thousand-barrel-per-day milestone. In the pre-salt, we reached double that output volume with the contribution of only 52 wells.
The significant volume produced per well in the Santos Basin pre-salt, around 25,000 barrels of oil per day, is far above the industry’s average. Of the ten highest-producing wells in Brazil, nine are located in this area. The most productive is in the Lula field, with an average daily flow of 36,000 barrels of oil per day.
We have drilled wells in the pre-salt in increasingly less time, always working pursuant to the best operational safety practices in the world. The average time to build an offshore well in the Santos Basin pre-salt cluster used to be approximately 310 days until 2010. With the progress made in knowledge about the geology there, with the introduction of advanced technologies, and with increasing project efficiency, in 2015 that time had dropped to 128 days; and, in the first five months of 2016, to 89 days. A 71 percent reduction.
Because of the knowledge accumulated in our operations and due to technological innovation, the average cost to lift pre-salt oil has dropped gradually over the past few years. From $9.1 per barrel of oil equivalent (oil + gas), in 2014, to $8.3, in 2015, and less than $8 per barrel in the first quarter of 2016.
Improvement of the goods and services industry
The business generated by the pre-salt is a vector that drives improvement in the goods and services chain, bringing technologies, knowledge, professional training, and opportunities to the industry. By and large, technological challenges in the oil industry are overcome by means of the combination of efforts between operator and supplier technical teams, often supported by university and technology center scholars and researchers. The development of the pre-salt led major suppliers to install research centers in Brazil and induced a national content policy that favors competitiveness associated with opportunities for development to be generated by the overcoming of the challenges we face. In addition, it may leverage great progress in knowledge. It is important to stress that Petrobras will continue considering the competitive capacity of the domestic goods and service industry in its projects.