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The State of the Art of the Brazilian Pre-Salt Exploration


The giant pre-salt discoveries in Santos Basin deep waters have profoundly modified the exploration setting in Brazil for the last decade. These discoveries are among the most important in the world and place Brazil in a strategic position meeting the world’s demand for energy. The pre-salt oil province was discovered at 2006 and is characterized by large prospects of excellent quality light oil accumulated in carbonate reservoirs deposited between Barremian and Aptian. Currently the pre-salt responds for about 1.6 million BOE/D, corresponding to about 48% of the national oil production. In the last decade no other country in the world has discovered such significant volumes of oil, suggesting that Brazil has the potential to become one of the major oil and oil-derivative producers of the world. The exact oil volume in the pre-salt play is yet unknown, however, preliminary evaluation suggests that the Brazilian oil reserves could double with the increment of the discovered volumes (Lula, Sapinhoa, Buzios, Sepia, Lapa, Carcara, Libra, among others). The current Brazilian reserves are about 13 billion barrels of oil. In addition to the field listed above, the prominent structure of Libra is currently under development. Libra is a structural high, with carbonate reservoirs (microbial and coquina), with recoverable resources of about 9 billion barrels of oil (IHS, 2016). Besides the structures located in granted area, many others were identified by ANP, such as the structures of Saturno, Peroba, Pau-Brasil and Uirapuru, among others with higher risk (Cabo Frio High region for example). Since its discovery, the Brazilian pre-salt play has become a world-class oil province, however, little was published about it. Therefore, this work is aimed at introducing the state of the art of the Brazilian pre-salt, presenting its historical setting and the current depositional model for the petroleum systems elements.