Petrobras, Halliburton join forces to target complex reservoirs
February 22, 2017
Brazilian NOC and US oil services firm to co-operate on technology for pre-salt development.
Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras has inked a technology cooperation agreement with US oilfield services provider Halliburton, as the two firms look to better development in complex reservoirs. The collaboration will focus on technological solutions for deepwater pre-salt and mature fields, as well as other kinds of projects, Halliburton said in a press statement.
Brazil has some of the most extensive pre-salt deposits in the world. Pre-salt reserves, located on the Brazilian continental shelf, are estimated to contain more than 50 billion barrels of oil – four times more than estimated national oil reserves.
The new agreement is multi-year and aims to develop innovative solutions across the areas of geophysics, drilling and completions, reservoir characterisation, well testing, flow assurance and production, the US firm said. The plan is to increase well productivity, lower the costs of constructing wells, and reduce the costs of long-term monitoring required for reservoirs.
“Collaboration is a Halliburton strategic mainstay that drives our engagement with customers to develop new technologies,” said Francisco Tarazona, vice president of Latin America. “This agreement will enable experts from both companies to share knowledge and accelerate the development of tailored solutions.” The US firm has been collaborating with Petrobras on technology solutions since 2009.
In the first phase, the two companies worked on a total of 11 projects together, including pre-stack seismic attributes for carbonates, new algorithms for better estimation of fluid sampling contamination and a new cementing system for salt and CO2 environments. The latest agreement will kick off the second phase of collaboration, relying heavily on Halliburton’s Brazil Technology Centre in Rio de Janeiro.
The technology centre, which Halliburton says is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, is part of a larger global technology network. It works in tandem with other Halliburton technology centres located in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, India, Belgium and Singapore.
In the second phase of cooperation, a governance committee will determine which specific projects will be targeted, a Halliburton spokesperson told InnovOil. The projects will be led by subject matter experts in Brazil and supported by global teams all over the world, he said.Halliburton plans to continue close collaboration with Petrobras “for the foreseeable future,” the spokesperson added.
When asked whether the innovations being tested are potentially for use outside of Brazil, he said that technology solutions are “often more broadly applicable… While some challenges are unique to Brazil, many are also represented in other regions in which we operate,” he noted.
Brazil’s vast pre-salt reserves cover some 149,000 square km, and are located on the coast between the southern states of Santa Catarina and Espírito Santo. Cash-strapped Petrobras is hoping that by focusing on pre-salt it can turn round its wider financial struggles.
The firm has experienced significant production declines in recent years as a result of maturing fields and ageing infrastructure. It has also been rocked by a major corruption scandal, causing its debt to soar. On the back of this and challenges presented by a period of low crude oil prices, it has needed to resort to cash-saving measures. It has cut investment, slashed it production forecasts and divested some of its assets, to try and improve profitability. Last year the firm cut its 2016-2020 expenditure plan by 5% to US$93 billion, having previously already lowered it to US$98.4 billion from US$130.3 billion. At the same time, it made a 20% cut to its oil and gas reserves.
The company’s new strategy centres on maximising its best-returning opportunities, which typically means pre-salt development activities. With that in mind, cost efficiency is likely to continue to be the biggest driver of this latest cooperation.