Petrobras has outlined its proven reserves as of the end of 2014, and detailed the dramatic role that the pre-salt has played in boosting those reserves in recent years.

According to the Brazilian state-owned major, it’s proven reserves of petroleum (oil and condensate) and natural gas, assessed at the end of the year according to ANP/SPE (National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency/ Society of Petroleum Engineers) criteria, reached 16.612 Bboe. This is a rise of 0.3% over the 2013 figure of 16.565 Bboe.

In Brazil’s waters, the highlight is the 23% growth of proven reserves in the presalt compared to the 2013 figure. Presalt has, very impressively, become responsible for more than 30% of the company’s proven reserves in just six years – the first presalt barrel of production flowed in the Campos Basin in 2008.

This growth has contributed significantly to the company’s all-important Reserve Replacement Ratio (RRR) of 105%. In other words, the added volumes, deducting anticipated monetised volumes through divestments, and returned concessions, were 5% greater than 2014 production. The 2014 figure is an increase of 4.1% over 2013 (0.861 Bboe), which means that – even with a significant increase in produced volumes – the company maintained its proven reserves growth.

Various individual highlights, according to the company, included:

Declarations of commerciality on five presalt exploratory areas, four of them related to the Transfer of Rights Agreement, and involving eight fields: Sépia (Nordeste de Tupi), Itapu (Florim), Sul de Sapinhoá (Sul de Guará), Atapu (Entorno de Iara), Norte de Berbigão (Entorno de Iara), Sul de Berbigão (Entorno de Iara), Norte de Sururu (Entorno de Iara) and Sul de Sururu (Entorno de Iara), and one in the Santos Basin Concession Contract that generated three new fields: Berbigão (BM-S-11), Oeste de Atapu (BM-S-11) and Sururu (BM-S-11);

A volume of 0.243 Bboe appropriated as proven reserves in 2014 on these Transfer of Rights fields;

These eight fields adding to two declared commercial in 2013 (Búzios and Sul de Lula) will allow for the production of the total contracted volume of 5 Bboe. Regarding reserves booking, the incorporation of the volumes contracted through the Transfer of Rights areas as proven reserves will occur over the coming years, as the developments take place and in accordance with the ANP/SPE criteria. Currently the Transfer of Rights areas volume of 5 Bbbl is accounted for as total reserves.

A volume of 0.037 Bboe was appropriated as proven reserves in 2014 in three new Concession Contract fields in the Santos Basin presalt. This corresponds to Petrobras’ 65% share in the BMS-11 block consortium. The additional volume already discovered and econom­ically viable will be appropriated as proven reserves as the production projects are implemented during the next few years;

Incorporation of 0.015 Bboe of proven reserves from the continued success of exploration activity related to the discovery of a new accumulation of Albian-age carbonates (Suruanã area) next to the existing infrastructure at the deepwater Roncador field in the Campos Basin.

Petrobras also went onto flag up the importance of its work in terms of enhanced recovery techniques, with growth in proven reserves in the presalt producing fields also aided by positive responses from reservoirs where secondary recovery mechanisms (ie. water injection) were used, and also from the operational efficiency of the production systems. This was in addition to increased drilling activity and wells connection, both in the deepwater Santos and Campos Basins, it said.

From these incorporation of reserves, 43% were from Búzios (Transfer of Rights), 36% from the Lula, Lula/Área de Iracema and Sapinhoá fields in the Santos Basin, and 21% from fields that constitute the Whale Park area (Parque das Baleias), in addition to the Marlim Leste and Barracuda fields in the Campos Basin.

Growth in the recovery factor from post-salt producing fields such as Marlim Leste, Marlim Sul, Tartaruga Verde and Tartaruga Mestiça in the Campos Basin also contributed, it added.

Finally Petrobras – in need of some good news after all the recent ‘bad news’ headlines related to Operation Car Wash, which has so far seen three high-ranking former executives arrested over alleged corruption – also pointed out that it’s produced volume of 0.896 Bboe in 2014 did not take into account production from the various EWTs in exploration areas as, for EWTs, the area is still exploratory and not yet declared commercial, therefore it does not yet have associated reserves.