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Shell, Total apply to drill in 16th bid round blocks offshore Brazil

February 25/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell and Total both applied for environmental permits to drill in offshore blocks acquired during Brazil's 16th bid round held last year, reported S&P Global with reference to documents published Wednesday by federal environmental regulator IBAMA.

Shell applied to tap up to six wells in the Campos Basin C-M-659 block that could also include up to four well-formation tests, according to IBAMA. In addition, Shell wants to drill up to three wells in the C-M-713 block that could also include up to two well-formation tests. Shell expects to start the campaign in 2022-2024, IBAMA said.

Total, meanwhile, applied to drill up to five wells in the Campos Basin C-M-541 block, including two exploration wells and three evaluation wells, IBAMA said. The campaign could also include up to four well-formation tests, IBAMA said.

The two companies signed the concession contracts for the blocks on Friday, making the turnaround time less than a week.

The quick turnaround underscored the aggressive path international oil companies have taken since Brazil started holding regular sales of acreage under concession and production-sharing contracts in 2017, including making terms more competitive with rival sales in Mexico and the US Gulf of Mexico. Many winning bid groups from the recent licensing rounds have submitted requests for drilling permits and other administrative tasks nearly immediately after signing contracts, demonstrating the desire to move quickly to explore regions where a single well can pump as much as 50,000 b/d of oil equivalent. Among the changes made, Brazil allowed international oil companies to operate subsalt fields sold under production-sharing contracts and reduced requirements to use locally produced goods and services in exploration and development.

The changes made Brazil one of the world's hottest frontiers, with oil companies agreeing to record-setting signing bonuses and profit-oil guarantees to expand exploration portfolios over the past three years. That streak ended in November, when companies balked at paying sky-high signing bonuses for subsalt production-sharing areas and complicated negotiations to reimburse Petrobras for investments made at oil fields in the transfer-of-rights areas.

Brazil may eventually end the subsalt polygon that requires production-sharing agreements as well as Petrobras' preferential right to hold at least a 30% operating stake in the fields, with several bills working through Congress at the moment.

Shell, which is Brazil's second-largest oil and natural gas producer after state-led oil company Petrobras, holds a 40% operating stake in the C-M-659 block. Chevron retains a 35% minority share, with Qatar Petroleum owning 25%. The companies paid Real 714 million (USD163 million) for the development rights, including a commitment to drill at least one well.

As MRC wrote before, Royal Dutch Shell, which plans billions of dollars in spending on shale drilling projects, boosted output in the top US shale field to 250,000 barrels per day in December, 2019. Shell plans to spend about USD3 billion per year for the next five years on shale projects.

We also remind that Shell Singapore restarted its naphtha cracker in Bukom Island in early December 2019, following a two months maintenance shutdown since the beginning of October 2019. Thus, this cracker was taken off-stream for the turnaround on 1 October 2019. The cracker is able to produce 960,000 tons/year of ethylene and 550,000 tons/year of propylene.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,093,260 tonnes in 2019, up by 6% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. PE shipments rose from both domestic producers and foreign suppliers. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 1,260,400 tonnes in January-December 2019, up by 4% year on year. Supply of almost all grades of propylene polymers increased, except for statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers).

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, PP random copolymer, propylene, ethylene, gas processing, petrochemistry, Petrobras, Shell, Total Petrochemicals, Brazil, Russia, Singapore, USA.
Category:General News
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