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UpstreamOnline: Shell set for Brazil tests

8 September 2006

SHELL is making final preparations to carry out flow tests on a large offshore accumulation of heavy oil in Brazil’s Santos basin after recently concluding an appraisal well there, writes Gareth Chetwynd.

“The rig is undergoing final adjustments at the Maua-Jurong shipyard and we are almost ready to get it to the location and start the tests,” said a spokesperson.

Shell is facing a December deadline to declare commerciality on the accumulation in Block BS-4.

The appraisal well was drillled with the Transocean drillship Deepwater Navigator, and the same unit will be used for the flow test.

Two of the four prospects drilled by Shell on BS-4 were rated as discoveries but the crude is very sour, graded at between 14 and 15 degrees-API and located at water depths of about 1500 metres.

Initial estimates point to reserves in place of about 1.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent, but reservoir conditions have raised searching questions about commerciality.

Shell’s analysis of BS-4 has included pre-FEED studies with Houston’s Floatec look¬ing at the potential for application of spar, tension-leg platform or semi-submersible production systems.

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