European supermajor Shell is gearing up to start a fresh wildcatting programme offshore Brazil in search of pre-salt riches in the ultra-deepwater section of the Campos basin.

The company has chartered the Noble Corporation semi-submersible rig Noble Developer to spud the Sucuarana exploration well in Block C-M-659.

The rig has recently completed an 11-month job for Australia-based Karoon Energy in the Bauna and Patola shallow-water fields in the nearby Santos basin and will now mobilise for Shell.

The campaign, which is expected to begin in May and last between four and five months according to Shell Brazil president Cristiano Pinto da Costa, will also include new workover in the Parque das Conchas complex to replace some subsea boosting modules (MOBO) to try to increase productivity per well from the BC-10 area.