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Brazil's Prio pumps first oil from new production well at offshore Polvo field


Company completes drilling POL-Q well

Output remains stable at 1,000 b/d

Work pending at Frade, Wahoo

  • Author
  • Jeff Fick
  • Editor
  • Marieke Alsguth
  • Commodity
  • Natural Gas Oil

Brazilian independent oil and natural gas producer Prio pumped first oil from the POL-Q well at the offshore Polvo field, boosting output from the mature heavy oil producer by about 15%, according to a regulatory filing.

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"Initial production was stabilized at approximately 1,000 b/d," Prio said Sept. 20 after local markets closed. "The new well is producing from the field's Eocene reservoir, where the POL-K and POL-L wells are already in production."

The POL-K and POL-L wells, which were drilled in 2020 and 2021, pumped about 2,500 b/d at startup.

The drilling campaign represented a return to development and revitalization work at the Polvo field, which is part of Prio's Polvo-Tubarao Martelo production cluster. Prio previously carried out well repairs and maintenance projects in 2022. Output from Polvo is tied back to the FPSO Bravo floating production, storage and offloading vessel anchored at the adjacent Tubarao Martelo field.

The tie-back project was the first of its kind to enter operations offshore Brazil when it was completed in 2021. Prio owns 100% of Polvo-Tubarao Martelo.

The new production well also should help ease the downward trend in output seen in recent months amid natural declines at the two fields. Polvo-Tubarao Martelo produced 15,882 b/d of oil equivalent in August, down 1.9% from the 16,187 boe/d produced in August 2022, Prio said in a production report released Sept. 4. August's output, however, was stable with the 15,873 boe/d produced in July, ending a string of three consecutive month-on-month declines.

The fresh barrels also will be produced at reduced royalty rates under an incentive program by Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, or ANP. Prio previously won reduced royalty rates of 5% from the ANP for incremental production growth at Polvo in exchange for investments to boost production.

The POL-Q well also continued development of Eocene-age reservoirs at Polvo, which had previously been considered unproductive. The POL-L well, which was drilled in 2020, first proved the viability of output from the reservoirs and resulted in the subsequent drilling of the POL-K well in 2021.

The two previous wells each cost about $11 million to drill.

Prio did not provide a cost estimate for the POL-Q well, but said that the drilling as completed "on time and within stipulated costs."

The POL-Q well was drilled using Prio's Polvo-A drilling rig.

More drilling

Prio also is in the midst of a third drilling campaign at the offshore Frade field, with additional plans to start work on development of the Wahoo discovery in the second half of 2023, company executives said Aug. 3. Prio owns 100% of Frade and a 64.3% operating stake in Wahoo.

The Hunter Queen semi-submersible drilling rig, formerly known as the West Capricorn, was expected to complete the Frade drilling campaign in the third quarter, according to Prio. The rig would then be moved to Wahoo, with drilling expected to start in September depending on the acquisition of drilling permits from federal environment regulator IBAMA.

Prio has not provided any additional updates on the two drilling campaigns.

Wahoo is expected to pump about 40,000 b/d from four production wells, with first oil expected in the second quarter of 2024, according to Prio. The production wells will be tied back to the FPSO Valente installed at Frade, creating Prio's second major offshore production hub.

The tie-back equipment is expected to be installed in the first quarter of 2024 and will take about 45 days to complete, according to the company.