This article discusses the development of several mega projects for the development of the Pre-Salt fields, in the Santos Basin, deepwater, offshore Brazil. Special focus is given to the Lula Field, a super giant field, operated by Petrobras, having BG Brasil and Petrogal Brasil as partners.

Discovered in 2006 and with an estimated potential recoverable volume up to 8.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe), Lula field placed pre-salt fields in the spotlight as it opened a new prospective frontier in Brazilian deep waters. To develop Lula field, a multi-module development project, it was adopted a fast track strategy to achieve material production levels in a very short time frame.

In such a massive capital expenditure program, in an area with no infrastructure, and in an environment of heterogeneous carbonate reservoir, risk mitigation actions are a must. The first step taken was to acquire static and dynamic reservoir data, through data acquisition wells, extended well tests and implementation of two pilot FPSOs. Also, flexibility in the projects was carefully evaluated aiming to comply with possible bad, and good, reservoir surprises.

This information was used to optimize the development plan of Lula field, which comprises 10 FPSOs with processing capacity ranging from 100k bpd to 150k bpd of oil, and 175 million cubic feet/day to 280 million cubic feet/day of gas. The two pilot production units started operation in 2010 and 2013, respectively, and the first module of Iracema area in Lula Field started production in October 2014. The following FPSOs are expected to be installed in the upcoming years.

In a scenario of simultaneous projects under implementation, a clear long lead items strategy is critical to ensure the planned fast-track pace. Also, standardization of subsea equipment and production platforms, in an increasing local content requirement, mitigates supply chain risks and allows resources allocation flexibility.

This paper details the key success factors of Lula field development strategy, and show why it is nowadays a reference for the following mega developments that will take place in the Brazilian pre-salt, by combining a risk mitigation strategy with a fast pace production ramp-up, anticipating cash flow funds and maximizing returns.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.