Building resilience for offshore oil and gas projects in Brazil in the wake of macroeconomic uncertainties and depressed crude prices was the main discussion topic in Upstream's Brazil Oil & Gas digital event, held last week.

Attending the panel were Petrobras executive manager for construction services Joao Henrique Rittershaussen, Equinor global vice president of supply chain and procurement Mauro Andrade, ABS global offshore production director Luiz Feijo, Genesis Energies South America general manager Rodolpho Athayde and Enauta chief executive Decio Oddone.

“Any new project will have to be resilient in light of the new oil price scenario, especially the ones related to marginal and mature fields,” Jose Elias, Altera Infrastructure's Brazil managing director said in a presentation ahead of the panel debate.

"They are the ones that will face increased economic challenges, so they need to be redesigned in order to proceed,” he added.

State-controlled giant Petrobras has been adopting a series of measures to keep its main deep-water developments afloat in the current challenging environment. As Rittershaussen explained: “Petrobras’ main focus is to increase the resilience of its projects.

"The idea is to reduce costs by increasing productivity per well, reduce drilling time and become more efficient.

"We are making great efforts to bring a lot of value to our portfolio, like the PROD1000 programme,” he said.

Launched a year ago, the PROD1000 initiative aims to shorten to a mere 1000 days the interval between discovery and first oil from a deep-water field by using standardised solutions for floating production, storage and offloading vessels and subsea equipment.

“One of the key drivers of PROD1000 is standardisation of subsea systems and FPSO design, reducing capex and opex, improving efficiency and cutting emissions,” Rittershaussen added.

Norway’s Equinor and local independent player Enauta are also doing their homework to improve the economics of their offshore projects.

According to Oddone, Enauta had been reviewing the state of play at its Atlanta field in an attempt to further reduce the breakeven price even before the pandemic hit earlier this year. “We are discussing the next steps for Atlanta, but I believe we will be able to develop a project that will be resilient for us and a potential future partner,” he told webinar delegates.

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As for Equinor, the company is moving forward with its Bacalhau and Pao de Acucar pre-salt developments, while also striving to make the two more attractive from the financial standpoint.

“Like all other oil companies, we reacted to the downturn. We reduced capex, postponed investments around the world, but none of these decisions have impacted the strategy in Brazil. It shows the resilience of our Brazilian portfolio,” said Andrade, adding that first oil from Bacalhau remains on schedule for 2024.

He added that Equinor continues to push for improvements in legislation, especially when it comes to the natural gas market, to keep the competitiveness and attractiveness of investments in the country.