The success of an offshore oil field development strongly depends upon the well drilling success. Historically, the development of wells is the part of the project scope that presents the highest deviations in cost and schedule, due to the associated geological risks and the complexity involved in each operation. To fulfill the sanctioned CAPEX, the Barracuda and Caratinga well team has used the best management techniques and state-of-art drilling and completion technologies, allowing the completion of the well campaign on schedule and in the budget. This project has 54 wells, being 32 for oil production and 22 for water injection, in water depths between 709 and 1119 m. The whole scope took 44 months, using, in average, four rigs to perform drilling and completion, with a peak of six rigs during ten months. Those rigs have drilled 143 km of borehole; 30 km in pay zones, most of them in a horizontal path. The main drives on the operational side were: safety as a priority, a well design kept as simple as possible, and a detailed program containing contingencies and risk analysis for critical operations and real time drilling monitoring to expedite corrections in the well path when facing unexpected results in the pay zone. On the management side, the critical analysis meetings covered the client requirements (productivity indexes established by the reservoir group) and guaranteed the performance of service companies and suppliers based on clear targets agreed at the beginning of the development. The paper focuses on the key success factors, such as: perfect integration between operator and service companies, use of new technologies with the support of specialists, and good project planning and control, structured according to the PMBOK - Project Management Body of Knowledge.


The Barracuda and Caratinga fields are located in the Campos Basin, 160 km east of Macae, offshore Rio de Janeiro State, in Brazil (Fig. 1). The Barracuda field was discovered in April 1989; the reservoir contains 25° API crude and covers an area of approximately 233 km2, in water depths between 600 and 1100 m. The Caratinga field was discovered in February 1994; the reservoir covers an area of 260 km2, in water depths between 850 and 1350 m, and contains 23° API oil. The pressure and temperature are normal so the rigs hired for the project had 10 kpsi BOP and the maximum depth measured in a well was bellow 5000 meters. Aiming at reservoir uncertainty reduction, a production anticipation project - named Pilot System - was implemented. Three exploratory wells from Caratinga and eight from Barracuda were connected to P-34 FPSO (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading) and were in production between September 1997 and October 2002. The information and data acquired during that phase were valuable to optimize the location of the wells during the development phase. The Project was developed through a major turnkey EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) Contract of over US$ 2.6 billion - including wells; subsea flowlines, umbilicals and pipeline; and two FPSO's, P-43 and P-48 (Fig. 2).

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