RIO DE JANEIRO, May 1 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras on Friday began lifting the first subsalt crude from the massive Tupi field, the windfall from which the government hopes will help Brazil join the elite club of developed nations.
Following are some details about the Tupi field, believed to hold between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels of light crude, and its planned development:
* Petrobras partner BG Group BG.L announced the consortium had found oil and gas in Tupi in October 2006.
* Petrobras made its first estimate on recoverable reserves in November 2007, saying Tupi held a shocking 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent. That would make it the largest field in the so-called subsalt basin off Brazil’s southern coast and the biggest deep-water find in history.
* Brazil’s existing proven oil and gas reserves stand at roughly 14 billion barrels equivalent, almost all of which is high-sulfur, heavy crude, around 18 API, or lower, that comes from the Campos Basin.
* Tupi and several other recent subsalt discoveries come from the little-explored Santos Basin to the south of the Campos Basin.
* The Tupi oil is intermediate grade, sweet crude at 28-30 API. It also has high levels of paraffin, which could make it hard to lift from great depths if it is not heated. Some parts of the subsalt layer lie 7,000 meters (23,000 ft) below the ocean surface.
* Production from subsalt fields should end Brazil’s long-standing need to import light crude from Africa to mix in its domestic heavy crude in local refineries.
* Petrobras is operator of the Tupi field, part of a larger concessionary block BM-S-11. The block also contains the Iara field, which Petrobras estimated had 3-4 billion recoverable boe.
* Petrobras has a 65 percent stake in BM-S-11. Its partners, Britain’s BG Group and Portugal’s Galp (GALP.LS), have 25 percent and 10 percent stakes, respectively.
* Petrobras started long-term production tests from Tupi wells on Friday, May 1.
* The long-term test run from the Tupi will help define how Petrobras can most efficiently develop the rest of the field and others in the larger 200-800 km subsalt band off Brazil’s southern coast.
* The initial long-term test will put out 15,000-30,000 barrels per day for the next 12 months.
* A pilot production program is slated to begin in 2010, which should boost output to 100,000 bpd from the Tupi.
* Commercial production should begin in 2013 with 219,000 bpd and rise to 368,000 bpd in 2014, 582,000 bpd in 2015, 952,000 bpd in 2016 and 1.315 million bpd in 2017.
* By 2020, Petrobras plans output from the subsalt basin at 1.815 million bpd — roughly equivalent to current domestic output from existing fields — with 23 subsalt production platforms in place.
* Petrobras says its estimates are based on oil at $35-$40 a barrel. (Reporting by Reese Ewing and Denise Luna; Editing by David Gregorio)