Norwegian company Equinor believes it will be able to recover all investments to be poured into its flagship Bacalhau pre-salt development offshore Brazil within just four years after first oil.

Equinor intends to bring on stream Bacalhau in 2024 via a large floating production, storage and offloading vessel with processing capacity of 220,000 barrels per day of oil and 15 million cubic metres per day of natural gas.

Speaking at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Veronica Coelho, Equinor Brazil country manager, said phase one of Bacalhau has a breakeven price of less than $35 per barrel.

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“We expect payback from Bacalhau in four years based on oil prices of $60 per barrel after initial production,” she added.

Earlier this year, Equinor and project partners US supermajor ExxonMobil and Portuguese outfit Galp Energia sanctioned the $8 billion Bacalhau project.

Reducing emissions

Equinor is making significant efforts to reduce emissions from Bacalhau phase one, including implementing a combined cycle gas turbine system to increase the energy efficiency of the power station.

According to Coelho, such action could potentially result in 25% fewer carbon emissions from Bacalhau once the field is in operation.

Offshore processing

She also mentioned the BM-C-33 project in the Campos basin “will be even more economically resilient” with the use of a novel technological solution to handle the huge volumes of gas to be produced from the Pao de Acucar, Gavea and Seat pre-salt discoveries.

Equinor plans to process both the condensate and natural gas on board the FPSO that will be contracted to enter operation in BM-C-33 in 2027.

Instead of doing the gas processing onshore – as is usually the case in such projects – Equinor opted to undertake the massive job offshore, using a topsides module that will be installed in the proposed FPSO.

The company is also working out a potential phase two at Bacalhau, due on stream after 2028, to produce additional volumes from the field.

Bacalhau is estimated to hold more than 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent in recoverable reserves.