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Oil & Gas Journal: Shell Brazil declares BS-4 commercial

Peter Howard Wertheim
OGJ Correspondent

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 4 — Royal Dutch Shell PLC issued a declaration of commerciality with Brazil’s National Petroleum and Biofuels Agency for its BS-4 exploration area in the northern sector of the Santos basin off Sao Paulo. The area is a remnant of the Zero round in 1998.

Shell Brazil SA is operator of the block with a 40% stake, while Brazil’s state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and Chevron Corp. hold the remaining interests.

Exploration activity at BS-4 confirmed discovery of two distinct areas. The results indicate a reservoir containing 1.6 billion boe in place in 1,800 m of water (OGJ Online, Aug. 22, 2002).

The discovered oil is super-heavy—14-15º gravity. The first discovery at BS-4 was made at yearend 2001. Shell drilled four exploration wells in the area: Two made discoveries, and two were dry.

Preliminary studies indicated that development should be carried out using a spar or a tension-leg platform. Production is scheduled to start up in 2012.

Recently, Shell conducted a production test at the BS-4 area using Transocean’s Deepwater Navigator drillship. At yearend 2005, the oil company declared the commercial feasibility of BC-10, announcing the discovery of the Ostra, Argonauta, Nautilus, and Abalone fields (OGJ Online, Sept. 22, 2006).

“We know that we will have to continue to work to evaluate the discoveries and to decide on the development plan that can be considered to be economically feasible,” said John Haney, Shell’s vice-president, exploration and production, in Brazil.

Subsea contract

Separately, Subsea 7 signed a $275 million contract with Shell for the supply of equipment and services for the development of BC-10 in the Campos basin. The company will install the pipelines, umbilicals, and manifolds and will manufacture and install the rigid risers and jumpers for the field.

According to Subsea 7, the project involves installation of 10 steel pipelines totaling 109 km, as well as the manufacture and installation of six rigid risers in a lazy-wave configuration for a total of 18 km. The project also calls for the transportation and installation of three dynamic and two static umbilicals totaling 50 km. Subsea 7 also will manufacture and install 25 rigid jumpers and install four manifolds.

BC-10 is 120 km southeast of Vitoria, in 1,600-2,000 m of water. Subsea 7 said it would mobilize the Seven Oceans and Seven Seas specialized pipelaying ships to develop the field. The first ship will be delivered this year and the second in 2008. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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