Norwegian know-how

January 16, 2014

The Statoil-operated Peregrino field, one of Brazil’s most significant offshore producers, is a wealth of resources, including Norwegian- developed technology. Sarah Parker Musarra chatted with Statoil Brazil Country President Thore E. Kristiansen.

While pre-salt has become topic du jour with regards to Brazil’s offshore resource wealth potential, there is one field still capable of drawing attention away from pre-salt-filled eyes, the massive heavy oil Peregrino project operated by Norwegian giant Statoil.

Identified by Statoil as the company’s largest internationally operated field, Peregrino is located 85km (53mi) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in the 115,000km (71,457mi) Southern Campos Basin area.

Peregrino, originally discovered by Petrobras in 1994, produces 100,000 bo/d from 22 producers and three water injector wells. Thirty-seven (30 horizontal producers and seven water injectors) wells are planned. Estimated recoverable resources hand somewhere between 300-600 MMbo.

Image Caption: Peregrino FPSO Peregrino.

Photo courtesy of Øyvind Hagen / Statoil.

“The [focus] of the core business of Statoil in Brazil is Peregrino,” Statoil Brazil Country President Thore E. Kristiansen said from Statoil’s Rio de Janeiro offices. Peregrino is in Phase I production and is expected to produce until 2034. Platforms Peregrino A and B are tied back to the floating production, storage and off-take unit (FPSO) Peregrino, which has a storage capacity of 1.6 MMbo and produced more than 50 MMbo since achieving first oil in April 2011.

“It’s a significant field by any standards. We believe there are 2.5 billion bo in place where we are currently operating,” Kristiansen said, adding that a newer discovery in the area, Peregrino South “is maturing.”

At a recent technology briefing Statoil held in its Houston office, three Statoil executives discussed the company’s focus on specific and specialized technological solutions.

Statoil places a heavy emphasis on increased oil recovery (IOR), mostly developed in the Norwegian Continental Shelf [NCS] and deployed elsewhere, to boost production at the field.

In Houston, Lars Høier, senior vice president, TPD research, development and innovation referred to the NCS as “[Statoil’s] laboratory.

“By applying our technology [developed in the NCS], we thought we could recover more resources from Peregrino. We saw that long horizontal wells could improve technology and possibly double what the previous owners predicted,” Kristiansen said.

Horizontal wells in particular were a “key technology” for Peregrino, Kristiansen said. They were previously lengthened to boost production, and Statoil is planning on modifying them again. Multilateral branched wells are also utilized: Used extensively in heavy oil fields in the NCS, they make their entrance on the Brazilian stage in Peregrino.

“Peregrino’s oil is very heavy and very viscous. We saw that long horizontal wells…could improve recovery.

Image Caption: The Peregrino A platform.

Photo courtesy of Øyvind Hagen / Statoil.

“We have long horizontal wells, and we’re currently drilling them out to 6.5km step out of the platforms. We are stretching them out in future towards 8km. We are branching out the wells to ensure that we are optimizing the reser- voir we are attacking.”

Statoil partnered with service com- panies to develop and patent a version of autonomous inflow control devices (AICD), already tested on the NCS in two Norwegian fields to reduce water production. AICD distinguishes between high-viscosity oil and low-viscosity water and gas to allow in only the high-viscosity oil.

Produced water is combined with treated sea water and pumped back into the reservoir to maintain pressure, a method called produced water reinjection.

Other ways Statoil combats the difficulties that heavy oil like Peregrino’s brings is through water as a way to transport the crude from the wellhead platforms to the FPSO.

Image Caption: Statoil Brazil Country President,  Thore E. Kristiansen

Further IOR strategies are underway. “We are at least on the drawing board to use polymers injection to increase the viscosity of water to improve displacement of oil/water mobility,” he said.

At the Houston technology briefing Margareth Øvrum, executive vice president, technology, projects and drilling (TPD) named Brazil at as a possible front-runner for Statoil’s first subsea factory, planned to be in place by 2020.

Kristiansen, however, said that the world-first wouldn’t be located in Peregrino. Kristiansen said that Peregrino’s Phase II is imminent.

Image Caption: An illustrated layout of the Peregrino field offshore Rio de Janiero.

Image courtesy of Statoil.

“We believe the whole field has 4 billion bo in place. We will hopefully make a investment decision on Phase II towards end of 2014,” he said. “It would consist of another wellhead platform tied back to the existing FPSO.”

Statoil hold the operatorship stake in Peregrino with a 60% working interest (WI). The Sinochem Group purchased the remaining 40% WI in 2010 for US$ 3,070 MM. OE