Equinor’s Peregrino C Produces First Oil in Brazil’s Campos Basin

Equinor’s COVID-19-delayed Peregrino C production platform finally produces first oil off the coast of Brazil.

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Peregrino Phase 2
Photo: Ricardo Santos/Equinor ASA

Equinor’s Peregrino C production platform in Brazil’s Campos Basin off the coast of Rio de Janeiro has produced first oil, according to the Norwegian company.

First oil began flowing on 10 October from the new wellhead platform to launch Phase 2 of the project to extend the life of the Peregrino field to 2040 by adding 250–300 million bbl while cutting expected CO2 emissions per barrel in half.

Phase 2 will develop the southwest area of the field that is currently inaccessible to the existing A and B platforms comprising Phase 1. The development plan involves increasing the number of production wells in the new area by drilling 15 oil producers and 6 water injectors.

The new platform’s drilling facilities and living quarters are tied in to the existing Peregrino FPSO, as well as a new pipeline importing gas to the platform for power generation. The switch from diesel to gas will reduce CO2 emissions from Phase 2 by 100,000 tons per year while also cutting operating costs and simplifying logistics, according to Equinor.

The new platform is equipped also with digital tools such as 3D modeling of the entire platform that operators can use on an iPad to improve cooperation between the platform and the onshore operational support team in Rio de Janeiro.

Equinor holds a 60% operating interest in the Peregrino heavy-oil field which is located about 85 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, with Sinochem (40%) as partner. The field began production in 2011 and is currently developed with wellhead platforms connected by a system of pipelines, risers, and cables to an FPSO facility.

Peregrino Phase 1 consists of an FPSO supported by the Peregrino A and Peregrino B wellhead production platforms. Since coming on stream in 2011, the field has produced more than 210 million bbl of oil and is the largest field operated by Equinor outside of Norway.

The project was scheduled to start up in late 2020 but delayed when COVID-19 hit the project, forcing cuts in the workforce several times in the crucial and normally labor-intensive hookup phase. However, Peregrino Phase 2 was delivered within the original $3 billion cost estimate, Equinor said.

“COVID-19 has made Peregrino Phase 2 a challenging project, and I want to thank everyone involved for delivering the project with excellent HSE results,” Equinor quoted its Executive Vice President for Projects, Drilling & Procurement, Geir Tungesvik, as saying. Operation of the new platform will provide 350 long-term jobs offshore and onshore in Brazil.

Al Cook, Equinor’s executive vice president for exploration & production international, called the Peregrino Phase 2 startup “an important milestone in Equinor’s growth strategy in Brazil," adding that the project “showcases how we can bring valuable new resources onto production at the same time as investing in technology to cut carbon emissions.”

In another project offshore Brazil, Equinor and its partner ExxonMobil were reportedly considering in July the prospect of adding a second drilling rig and a second FPSO platform for the next phase of the Bacalhau development in the Santos basin, along with a 100-mile-long natural gas pipeline.