The world in order to meet the growing demand for oil, will need a surplus production volume equivalent to the Saudi production every two years, up until 2020. The statement was made by the president of Petrobras, José Sergio Gabrielli, during a seminar on the pre-salt layer held December 1st at the University of São Paulo (USP), in the capital of the state of São Paulo.
The Saudi output is currently around 11 million barrels of oil per day. According to Gabrielli, Petrobras should contribute to meeting the global demand with an increase of 1.8 million barrels a day, as a consequence of pre-salt production. The volume should be attained within 12 years, according to projections by the state-owned company.
Oil consumption was one of the key issues addressed at the seminar, which also featured Brazilian and foreign specialists. Upon discussing the new pre-salt area fields, Gabrielli stated that the "exploratory risk is minimum," because the 13 wells drilled so far all contain oil.
The pre-salt oil wells are still being tested and daily output is currently 15,000 to 30,000 barrels. "We do not know how the reservoir behaves, how it reacts to fast-paced production. The only way for us to find out is to produce," stated the president of Petrobras, explaining that the new fields’ production capacity cannot yet be ascertained precisely.
A new state-owned oil company (Empresa Brasileira de Administração de Petróleo e Gás Natural SA – Petrosal) will be in charge of managing production sharing contracts and contracts for sale of oil and natural gas by the federal government.
Petrobras, in turn, will be responsible for drilling and production activities. The regulatory framework for the pre-salt is still pending approval by the Brazilian government.
When questioned as to whether Brazil might become a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) due to the new discoveries, Gabrielli claimed that the decision is up to the government. He said, however, that the OPEC brings together crude oil exporting countries, whereas Brazil has been investing heavily in refining, therefore it should export less of the crude variety.
During a press conference, the president of Petrobras also addressed the need for new drilling equipment at pre-salt fields. According to him, the company has identified a need for 600 new pieces of equipment, and should consult with suppliers in order to find a manufacturer.
Before the seminar, Gabrielli attended the inauguration of a new laboratory for the Numeric Proof Tank (TPN), an equipment that simulates offshore oil and gas production systems. According to Kazuo Nishimoto, coordinator of the TPN laboratory and Infrastructure at the University of São Paulo-Galileu Network, the tank will enable pre-salt sea conditions to be simulated.
The new equipment will allow for testing and research that, thus far, were carried out abroad. The project is part of the Galileu Network, for technology in computational mechanics, scientific computing and imaging, geared at problem-solving for the oil and gas industry, devised and implemented by Petrobras. The laboratory, located at the University of São Paulo, covers nearly 1,600 square meters and may accommodate up to 80 researchers.
The building that houses the laboratory also features a virtual reality room connected with the Petrobras Research Center (Cenpes) and the remaining institutions in the Galileu Network, aiming to enable integrated development and monitoring of projects and operations.
The lab also houses a hydrodynamic physical calibrator, i.e. a four-meter deep tank with a surface of 14 square meters that makes it possible to create multidirectional waves in order to emulate oceanic systems.