The 2020s will be a key decade for Brazil, not only for oil and gas projects, but for the energy sector in general, as pre-salt production continues to soar to new highs and operators begin a gradual shift to cleaner energy sources.

“Next year will be huge, not only for Brazil’s deep-water and offshore plays, but as Brazil also moves to unlock the onshore,” Genesis Energies South America general manager Rodolpho Athayde told Upstream's recent Brazil Oil & Gas digital event.

Mergers and acquisitions are accelerating in Brazil since Petrobras began selling assets, mainly on shallow-water and onshore plays, a few years ago.

“There is quite a bit of opportunity in Brazil nowadays with pre-salt in Petrobras, but also from new players with the opening of the market to international oil companies. These are very exciting times in Brazil right now,” said ABS global offshore production director Luiz Feijo.

“We see higher demand for construction of larger units, which brings a lot of new technology, so it is important to maximise investments.”

Petrobras is doing the lion’s share of these investments, with the bulk focused on the highly productive Buzios pre-salt field.

The company already has four floating production, storage and offloading vessels in operation at Buzios, and the plan is to have up to 12 FPSOs on stream by the end of the decade to complete the field development, according to Petrobras executive manager for construction services Joao Henrique Rittershaussen.

“Pre-salt in Brazil is a mega success. They are really Petrobras’ crown jewel and they are absolutely right to focus on that,” said Altera Infrastructure Brazil managing director Jose Elias.

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In parallel to the pre-salt development, some operators in Brazil are beginning to invest in energy transition initiatives.

Norway’s Equinor has applied in August to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the Brazilian coast, a giant 4 to 4.66 gigawatt enterprise that will demand billions of US dollars in investments.

“We already operate a small solar plant, and we are now looking at offshore wind in Brazil,” said Equinor global vice president of supply chain and procurement Mauro Andrade, adding it is still early days for the project as not all regulatory framework for offshore wind is in place in Brazil.