Exclusives

Global exploration activity might be down in the dumps, but there’s a new exploration hot spot lighting up South America.

Rafael Cruz, Petrobras, Lula, field, oil

Production from the field is pushing Petrobas closer to its 1-MMbbl/d presalt goal

Brazil, opportunity, Mayer Brown, Operation Car Wash, assets, oil, production, Petrobras, offshore, divest

The corruption scandal hits debt-laden Petrobras hard during one of the worst downturns in the oil and gas sector’s history. But it’s not all bad news for potential investors.

A novel scale inhibitor formulation optimizes artificial lift in mature, calcium-rich wells in an Argentine field.

Like in many shale plays around the world, players interested in the Vaca Muerta Formation must overcome steep learning curves and find adequate financing. But the prize is there. 

Deepwater International

Technip has clinched a major contract worth at least $559.2 million to supply a network of flexible pipes for the deepwater Lula Alto field offshore Brazil.

The issues related to Petrobras and the ongoing corruption probe in Brazil could lead to at least four major deepwater FPSO projects hitting at least a one-year delay, according to Portugal’s Galp Energia.

QGI Oil & Gas consortium has abandoned more than $1 billion worth of modules integration work on two identical FPSO vessels destined for one of Petrobras’ developments.

Petrobras has churned out announcement of yet another ultra-deepwater discovery but this time in the post-salt. 

Petrobras has highlighted the money it is saving through the utilisation of subsea equipment support vessels (SESVs) instead of drillships and rigs to install its subsea trees in the pre-salt offshore Brazil.

Exploration

A test conducted with an electric submersible pump in the Guadalupe Formation across multiple sand units resulted in a production rate of about 1,800 barrels of oil per day (bbl/d) of 16 degrees API, with a 17% water cut through a choke of 38/64 mm and wellhead pressure of 80 pounds per square inch, the company said.

Brazil's Petrobras said in a securities filing on Nov. 21 that an injunction in a civil lawsuit has forced the company to suspend the sale of stakes in the Bauna and Tartaruga Verde oil fields. Petrobras will appeal, the filing said. 

Brazil's Petrobras and France's Total SA agreed on Oct. 24 to study opportunities for joint developments in E&P of oil and gas both in Brazil and abroad, Petrobras said in a statement.

Now, Harvest's primary tangible asset is its oil and gas interests in Gabon. Harvest has received two proposals for the purchase of its Gabon interests and is in discussions with both potential buyers.

Dennis Mills, chair of the independent committee of the board of directors, said Pacific Exploration’s long-term goal to improve liquidity aligns with the sale.

Production

Argentina's YPF said on Oct. 28 it signed a deal with Norway's Statoil ASA (NYSE: STO) to study potential drilling sites offshore Argentina's Atlantic coast. The seismic tests will be undertaken in waters 500 meters (m) to 3,500 m deep.

Petrobras, Libra's operator, owns 40% of the area. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE: RDS.A) and France's Total SA each own 20%. China's CNOOC and China National Petroleum Corp. each own 10%, Reuters said.

Canacol expects 2016 to have near-record EBITDAX of about $135 million.

Ecuador s also one of the world's most biodiverse nations, boasting Amazon rainforest, Andean mountains and the Galapagos Islands, Reuters reported.

Net profit at the company fell nearly 48% in the second quarter to 787 billion Colombian pesos (US$270.6 million), Reuters reported. 

Technology

Unions are challenging efforts by Petrobras' CEO, Pedro Parente, to dispose of assets and limit pay raises. Parente claims such actions could help prevent the company's $130 billion debt from growing, Reuters reported.

Already the largest foreign investor in Brazil, Shell is particularly encouraged by recent legislation that increases the role of private oil companies in the tapping of vast off-shore oil deposits in the subsalt layer, CEO Ben van Beurden said.

Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA said on Nov. 7 there had been an oil spill in central Anzoategui state from a pipeline leak, which is said to have occured between Nov. 2-6.

Jeremy Lieberman, an attorney at Pomerantz representing the shareholders, said there was a clear link between bad news about developments in the Petrobras investigation in Brazil and a drop in share price, Reuters reported.

Petrobras bought the rights, known in Portuguese as the "Cessão Onerosa," for more than $50 billion as part of a more than $70 billion stock sale in 2010, Reuters reported.