Equinor, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Petrogal Brasil said on June 1 they would proceed with an $8 billion development of Brazil's Bacalhau oil discovery located in the presalt Santos area.

The Bacalhau field is situated across two licenses, BM-S-8 and Norte de Carcará. The resource is a high-quality carbonate reservoir, containing light oil with minimal contaminants.

First oil from the field, which will be operated by Norway's Equinor, is expected in 2024, with output set to reach 220,000 barrels per day, the companies said in a joint statement. The development will consist of 19 subsea wells tied back to a FPSO located at the field.

The stabilized oil will be offloaded to shuttle tankers and the gas from Phase 1 will be re-injected in the reservoir. The FPSO contractor will operate the FPSO for the first year. Thereafter, Equinor plans to operate the facilities until the end of the license period.

"Estimated recoverable reserves for the first phase are more than one billion barrels of oil," said Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor executive vice president.

The field has a breakeven cost of below $35 per barrel, Equinor said, around half the current market price of crude oil.

Significant efforts have been made to reduce emissions from the production phase, including implementing a combined cycle gas turbine system to increase the energy efficiency of the power station. This gives an efficient electrical power production and flexible heat supply.

Lifetime average CO2 intensity is expected to be less than 9 kg per barrel produced, significantly lower than the global average of 17 kg per barrel. Work will continue through the lifetime of the field to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency.

Equinor and Exxon each hold a 40% stake in Bacalhau, while Petrogal Brasil holds 20%. Brazilian government company Pre-sal Petroleo SA is also a partner via a production-sharing agreement, ensuring public involvement in the project.