Statoil plays $2 billion chip on offshore Brazil

The Norwegian company has tripled its production capacity in a deal with Brazil's Petrobras.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Dec. 18, 2017 at 9:41 AM
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Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy major Statoil said Monday it would spend at least $2 billion to triple its production capacity from offshore Brazil.

The Norwegian company, owned in part by the government, said it was taking a 25 percent interest in the Roncador oil field in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil from Petróleo Brasileiro, a Brazilian company known commonly as Petrobras.

"This transaction adds material and attractive long-term production to our international portfolio, further strengthening the position of Brazil as a core area for Statoil," President and CEO Eldar Sætre said in a statement.

When announced in 1990, Roncador was the largest field ever discovered offshore Brazil. Its 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent made it the third-largest field held by Petrobras, and Statoil said that through the partnership it wanted to improve the recovery factor by at least 5 percent.

With its remaining recoverable volume of more than 1 billion barrels, the acquisition triples Statoil's production potential in Brazil.

Production in November was around 240,000 barrels of oil and 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in associated natural gas.

Statoil in July signed up with a regional Brazilian partner to take a 10 percent stake in a license area in the lucrative Santos basin, bringing the hold for the Norwegian energy major up to 76 percent in the $379 million deal.

The company already claims ownership over the Peregrino field in the Campos basin off the coast of Brazil alongside Chinese energy company Sinochem. In 2015, Statoil said it achieved a production milestone in the region by passing the 100 million barrel mark.

In October, it expanded its footprint in the Brazilian energy market even further, this time with a $25 million agreement to take a 40 percent stake in the Adopi solar project in Brazil from Scatec Solar, a Norwegian independent solar power producer.

Statoil's announcement came on the same day that French supermajor Total said it was committed to expanding operations in the pre-salt oil basins off the coast of Brazil.

In a country profile published last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Brazil through August produced an average of 3.3 million barrels per day in oil and other petroleum liquids. That's up from the full-year 2016 average of 3.2 million barrels per day.

Much of the oil from the offshore Santos basin is buried underneath a thick layer of salt on the ocean floor and producers have been able to crack into that in recent years. Output from pre-salt basins has accelerated since 2009 as exploration and production technology acclimates to the region's tough conditions.

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