Petrobras has been drilling wells in the pre-salt in ever shorter times, leveraging its acquired experience and the introduction of new technologies. The average well drilling time in the pre-salt layer of Lula and Sapinhoá fields has declined by 55%, from 126 days in 2010 to 60 days in 2013. In these areas, the company has already achieved durations of close to 30 days between the first and last meter drilled (“dry hole”).
Around 50% of the company’s investment in pre-salt is designated for constructing and evaluating wells; hence, reduced drilling time has a major economic impact.
As a result of this reduction, the company has achieved major cost savings due to a decline in the number of days spent on drilling operations. Given that the average cost of drilling a well is approximately US$1 million per day, Petrobras is saving an average of US$66 million in drilling activities per pre-salt well.
This strong performance is the result of continuous efforts by Petrobras to optimize the well drilling activity, which is considered critical due to the heavy investment involved. In order to further improve its results, in 2013 the company created its Well Cost Reduction Program, one of the pillars of its 2014-2018 Business and Management Plan.
Over the next five years, Petrobras will invest around US$70 billion in constructing exploration wells and developing production in Brazil—32% of the company’s total investment planned in its Business and Management Plan, and 46% of its scheduled investment in exploration and production in Brazil.
Petrobras achieved a 100% geological success rate in the pre-salt layer in 2013. The presence of oil was found in all 14 wells drilled last year in the Santos and Campos basins, all operated by the company. Considering all offshore wells drilled by the company, in both pre-salt and post-salt, the exploration success rate was 77%.
Between January 2013 and March 2014 alone, Petrobras made 49 new discoveries, including 15 in pre-salt. Petrobras says that its strong results in pre-salt exploration are due to its in-depth knowledge and technological excellence in ultra-deep water exploration.
By using its experience in Campos Basin, adapting solutions to the pre-salt conditions of Santos Basin, together with continuous large-scale investment in the acquisition of exploratory data, the company has been able to better characterize reservoirs and reduce production design uncertainties.
The pre-salt discoveries present very significant potential volumes, along with the presence of excellent quality oil of high commercial value.