(This September 26 story corrects second paragraph to show platforms should go online this year)
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil’s most productive field, the Lula, located in the offshore Santos basin, should hit peak production in 2020 or 2021, after reaching 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day next year, an executive at Royal Dutch Shell said on Wednesday.
The increase in production next year will be helped by the launch of platforms P-67 and P-69, which should go online in 2018, according to Cristiano Pinto da Costa, Shell’s general manager for the Santos basin’s Lula, Sapinhoa, Iracema and Lapa fields.
The Lula field averaged 879,000 barrels of oil per day as of July. It is operated by Brazilian state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro in a consortium with Shell and Portugal’s Galp.
Rising oil prices and shrinking reserves have boosted appetite among oil majors for placing big bets on Brazil’s prolific offshore pre-salt layer, where billions of barrels of oil lie under a thick layer of salt beneath the ocean floor.
On Friday, Brazil will host its last pre-salt auction ahead of elections next month that could launch a leftist into the presidency with plans to walk back market-friendly reforms in the oil sector.
Speaking on the sidelines of an oil conference in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the auction, Pinto da Costa also said that a third phase of development for the Lapa field was still in a very early stage.
“We are studying the viability of drilling more wells to bring future production” to a part of the field where no wells are currently located, he said.
However, any decision about investment or the specific number of wells would not be made for another 18 to 24 months, he added.
Reporting by Marta Nogueira and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Christian Plumb and Leslie Adler