Santos Basin

Located in the southern portion of the Brazilian continental margin, Santos Basin covers an area of approximately in water with depths up to , from the southern coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro reaching to the north of Santa Catarina. It is geologically defined as a large depression, limited by Alto do Cabo Frio to the North and Alto de Florianópolis to the South, which makes it the most extensive of all the coastal basins in Brazil.


It is considered one of the most promising exploration and production areas in Brazil due to the discoveries in its pre-salt section over the past few years, which would elevate the region into the top ten ranking oil production regions in the world, according to specialized international publications. Owning assets in this region was a milestone reached as part of QGEP’s strategic exploration sector trajectory.

Santos Basin boasts reservoirs with excellent porosity and permeability due to its elements that favor the formation of carbonatite-biolitite reservoirs. Such peculiarities, combined with excellent sources and the efficient sealing of the salt layer, results in the accumulation of a large amount of optimum quality oil, which allows for a high success rate of exploration in this area. Disclosed data correspond to over 30 billion barrels discovered in this basin.

Preliminary research using seismic data of the region took place in the 1960s followed by the drilling of the first well in 1970. The latter part of the 1970s was characterized by a peak in exploratory activities, including the drilling of several wells by companies working under shared-risk contracts. The first hydrocarbon accumulation in Santos Basin was discovered in Merluza’s gas field in 1979. Following that, six other oil and gas fields were discovered by Petrobras by 1994 (Tubarão, Coral, Estrela do Mar, Caravela, Caravela Sul e 1-BSS-69). The late 1980s and early 1990s were characterized by an increase in exploratory drilling as a result of hydrocarbons discovery. In December 2007, 190 exploratory wells had been drilled, 100 of which by Petrobras.

From 2007 on, after approximately 30 years of exploration, Santos Basin began to garner attention both nationally and internationally after several announcements of relevant discoveries in deep water oil and gas fields made by Petrobras. The main discovery was Tupi, in Block BM-S-11, which took place in 2007 with reservoirs estimated in to of light oil. In the late 2010s, Petrobras announced the marketability of Tupi, which was from then on called Lula Field. Nowadays, Lula field produces over . Other relevant discoveries in Santos Basin include the fields of Cernambi and Sapinhoá (Guará), and the discoveries of Libra, Franco, Carcará, Carioca, Júpiter, among others. The recoverable values in these areas are estimated to surpass .


Block BM-S-8

QGEP acquired 10% of the BM-S-8 concession through a farm-in operation in July 2011 for the value of US$175.0 million. The exploration objectives in this block are microbial carbonates and pre-salt coquinas. Prior to the acquisition, Bem-Te-Vi had been discovered, which resulted in an Evaluation Plan (EP) now taking place in the area, as approved by the Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás Natural Biocombustíveis – ANP. After QGEP joined the block, the consortium was also responsible for drilling the well of Biguá, where a discovery was also notified, having presented saturated intervals of oil in pre-salt.

In the end of 2011, the consortium began drilling of the well that led to the discovery of Carcará. In 2012, the consortium announced the discovery of high-quality oil in pre-salt reservoirs. The well reached a final depth of .

The drilling of the Carcará Norte appraisal well was completed in July 2015, at a final depth of , using the ODN II rig, equipped with Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD). This well was drilled away from the pioneer well. The well confirmed the potential of the discovery of light oil with 31° API and established the extension to the north of the discovery in carbonate reservoirs of excellent quality, located just below the salt layer, at a depth of . The well found an expressive oil column of approximately of continuous and connected reservoirs.

Following the conclusion of Carcará Norte, the ODN-II rig has been relocated to the first Carcará appraisal well, named Carcará Noroeste. The well is located 5km from the wildcat well and the drilling was concluded in september 2015, reaching a final depth of 6,405 m. As with the previous two wells drilled to date, Carcará Noroeste did not identify the oil/water contact. Data available from the three drillings indicates that the oil column at the Carcará accumulation is of at least 530 m.

Data obtained from the tests carried out in Carcará Norte confirmed high expected productivity of the reservoirs in this area. Carcará is a light oil (31º API) accumulation with no contaminants. Initial production flow rates per well identified are at least equivalent to the highest producing wells in the Santos Basin. Testing of Carcará Norte has enabled the definition of the reservoir and oil characteristics, as well as the production capacity, providing the Consortium with the necessary information to plan future operations at Block BM-S-8, including the development of a production infrastructure for this discovery. 

The next commitments at BM-S-8 will be tests to be performed at Carcará Noroeste and the drilling of the Guanxuma prospect, both planned for the end of 2017. Guanxuma is a pre-salt prospect, located 30km southwest of Carcará. The end of the Discovery Assessment Plan (PAD) at Carcará will be in March 2018, the deadline for the declaration of commerciality.


Block BS-4

With 2011’s farm-in operation, QGEP acquired for US$157.5 million the concession rights to 30% of Block BS-4, comprised of the pre-salt fields of Atlanta and Oliva, making the company its operator. These fields are in the development phase. For further information, click here.

An exploratory prospect, Piapara, was identified in this block’s pre-salt under the Atlanta field after the analysis of seismic 3D. The consortium continues to evaluate the best timing to explore it.


Last updated on 2017-01-24T17:12:31


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