Petrobras has started commercial-scale oil production from the Mero pre-salt field in the Santos basin offshore Brazil.

As previously anticipated by Upstream on 28 April, output started via the Guanabara floating production, storage and offloading vessel.

The Guanabara FPSO is the first of four large units that will be deployed at Mero. It has a processing capacity of 180,000 barrels per day of oil and 12 million cubic metres per day of natural gas.

The unit arrived at Mero in late January and will be connected to six oil-producing wells and seven injection wells. Petrobras expects it to reach plateau by the end of the year.

Petrobras operates Mero with a 38.6% stake and is partnered by European supermajors Shell and TotalEnergies on 19.3% each, while China National Petroleum Corporation and China National Offshore Oil Corporation each hold 9.65%.

Brazilian pre-salt entity PPSA oversees the Mero production sharing contract and holds a 3.5% interest in the field, as part of output from a unitised area.

The field is estimated to hold 3.3 billion barrels of oil in recoverable reserves, with natural gas to be reinjected back into the reservoir.

“Today’s announcement serves as the latest reminder of the strength of our position in deep-water in Brazil with world-class assets, a prolific basin and a robust portfolio,” said Shell upstream director Zoe Yujnovich.

Besides the Guanabara FPSO, Petrobras is set to receive three additional floaters to boost output from Mero.

The Sepetiba FPSO will be the second unit to enter operation in the field, with first oil targeted for 2023, to be followed by the Marechal Duque de Caxias FPSO in 2024 and the Alexandre de Gusmao FPSO in 2025.

“This development will continue with the addition of three FPSOs in the coming years, all already under construction, which will deliver production of more than 650,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2026,” said TotalEnergies chief executive Patrick Pouyanne.

The Petrobras-led consortium has been producing from Mero since November 2017 via an early production system with the Pioneiro de Libra FPSO. In March, the unit produced about 48,000 bpd and 3.2 MMcmd from a single well.

Stay a step ahead with the Upstream News app
Read high quality news and insight on the oil and gas business and its energy transition on-the-go. The News app offers you more control over your Upstream reading experience than any other platform.