Petrobras' Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration in the US
By Petrobras News Agency.
Petrobras is increasingly under the spotlight in the offshore oil and gas exploration and production industry in the United States. Orlando Azevedo, the CEO of Petrobras America, speaks about the expectations for first oil in Cascade and Chinook, and discusses the Company's operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Q: Brazil Oil and Gas – For those who experience the daily activities in the American oil industry, why is it important to participate in the OTC?
A: Orlando Azevedo – The OTC is one of the most important oil and gas industry fairs. It is a showcase for those who want to put their technology on display or get information to share experiences. That is why it is important to participate in the OTC. And it has become a tradition for Petrobras to have a strong participation in it. In fact, the Company has already won three OTC awards. Therefore, to Petrobras America, it is extremely important to take part in the fair.
Q: Brazil Oil and Gas – What does Petrobras' presence in the US, via Petrobras America, represent?
A: Orlando Azevedo – Through Petrobras America, Petrobras can assess and review its procedures and its performance in a highly competitive market such as the American one. The truth is that it is the world's most competitive market and is a way for the company to show its feasibility, efficiency, and its use of new and complex technologies in such a highly competitive market. That is why it is so important to have a footprint in the US. In a few months, Petrobras will kick production off in the Cascade and Chinook fields, in the Gulf of Mexico.
Q: Brazil Oil and Gas – Is this likely to be a major theme during the OTC?
A: Orlando Azevedo – Yes. Indeed, since Cascade and Chinook will go into production in the second half of the year, it will likely be an even stronger subject in the next edition of the OTC. Of course, a lot will be discussed on this issue during this conference, as it is our main project. With Cascade and Chinook, we are bringing new technologies into the Gulf of Mexico. This is really a project that is in the showcase, and it is sure to get a lot of attention.
Q: Brazil Oil and Gas – Petrobras was the first company to be authorized to use an FPSO (floating production, storage, and offloading) type platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Did the fact the company is the world leader in deep water exploration and production play a role in this?
A: Orlando Azevedo – Absolutely. Bringing this technology to the United States required monitoring by US government regulators, and it was only possible on account of Petrobras great experience using these types of rigs. In fact, Petrobras owns nearly 50 per cent of all floating units in the world. The runner-up has a mere 15 per cent of them. In other words, we are well ahead and hold a very strong leadership in this area. That is why we have earned the trust of the American agencies, of the Coast Guard, and of the MMS (Minerals Management Service), the agency which, together with Petrobras, created new regulations on the use of FPSOs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Q: Brazil Oil and Gas – Besides the innovation of introducing an FPSO platform there, what other innovations is Petrobras implementing in the region?
A: Orlando Azevedo – In addition to the FPSO, which in and of itself is a novelty in the Gulf of Mexico, the use of hybrid risers, rigid risers, is also a new technology that is being deployed in the Gulf of Mexico, and we already use them in Brazil, on P-52. The way it is being submerged is also a new technology. There is also the fact the FPSO can be disconnected, an unprecedented feature in the Gulf of Mexico. So, there are several novelties, all of which are field proved and with low use risk.
Q: Brazil Oil and Gas – Are the Cascade and Chinook fields also a new frontier for Petrobras?
A: Orlando Azevedo – Exactly. It is a new frontier for Petrobras, especially in terms of depth. The FPSO will be submerged at a depth of 2,500 meters. In other words, it will be the deepest FPSO the Petrobras System has ever installed. The reservoir and the well drilling and completion process are also highly complex and sophisticated. The depth of the wells is slightly greater than those in the pre-salt. This all brings new frontiers to Petrobras' operations. And this is only made possible because of our experience, with the help we get from Brazil based on the experience the company has accumulated over its 50 years of existence. And this gives us the ability to operate more boldly on the world's biggest market.
Q: Brazil Oil and Gas – What other production and exploitation activities does Petrobras America have?
A: Orlando Azevedo – We have a rather solid portfolio in the US. In addition to Cascade and Chinook, we hold stakes in the Stones (25 per cent) and Saint Malo (25 per cent) fields, and now in Tiber, which was last year's great discovery and was made together with British Petroleum and ConocoPhillips. British Petroleum currently considers it as the second biggest discovery made in the Gulf of Mexico. Near that great discovery, we have a very interesting prospect for the future of exploration.
Q: Brazil Oil and Gas – What investments can be expected in the coming years?
A: Orlando Azevedo – The investments are connected to Petrobras' business plan. We are making the best use of the investment defined by our parent company in Brazil so that we reach the goals that have been laid out to achieve a production of about 45,000 barrels of oil by 2015, and 110,000 barrels in 2020.
Q: Brazil Oil and Gas – Something else to add?
A: Orlando Azevedo – I find it very important to emphasize that it is feasible for Petrobras to operate in the US market. Today, the big operators in the industry invite us to participate in farm outs and farm ins, so Petrobras, with its technology and knowledge, can add value to these consortia and joint ventures that are formed here in the United States. As regards our history, it is important to stress that our experience over these 50 years is not Petrobras' work, rather the work for Petrobras. All of the support we get from Brazil is fundamental to Petrobras' success and for the company to remain here in the United States.