Equatorial Margin of Brazil A Giant Deepwater Hydrocarbon Exploration Frontier in the South Atlantic Realm

December 11, 2022
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Oil and gas exploration kicked off in the Brazilian Equatorial Margin during the 1970s (e.g., the Foz do Amazonas and Pará-Maranhão basins). However, after almost 40 years of oil exploration, around 121 dry wells were drilled and only 12 sub-commercial wells were discovered. With such results, the campaigns had come to a near halt by the mid-nineties. All wells were drilled in the shallow-water realm during this time. This was followed by the opening of the Brazilian petroleum market with the founding of the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) in 1997, which kickstarted new bidding rounds in the Foz do Amazonas, Para-Maranhão and Barreirinhas basins. In recent years, giant oil fields were discovered in the deep waters of the Equatorial Margin of Guyana, Suriname, and French Guyana, which share many similar petroleum system elements and processes as Brazil’s Foz do Amazonas and Pará-Maranhão basins. These discoveries, including the Liza, Payara, Turbot, Ranger Snoek, Pacora, Longtail, Hammerhead, Pluma, Tilapia, Haimara (Guyana), Maka, Sapakara (Suriname) and Zaedyus (French Guyana) fields, have generated massive proven recoverable reserves of light oil, reaching around 8 billion bbl.

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