Equinor and its partners have made final investment decision (FID) to develop the $8bn phase I of the Bacalhau field in the Brazilian pre-salt Santos area.

The field, which contains light oil with minimal contaminants, is located nearly 185km off the coast of Ilhabela in Sao Paulo in water depths of 2,050m.

Equinor projects, drilling and procurement executive vice-president Arne Sigve Nylund said: “This is an exciting day. Bacalhau is the first greenfield development by an international operator in the pre-salt area and will create great value for Brazil, Equinor and partners.”

“Bacalhau is a globally competitive project with a break-even below USD 35 in a key energy region. Estimated recoverable reserves for the first phase are more than one billion barrels of oil.”

Located across two licences, BM-S-8 and Norte de Carcará, the Bacalhau field is planned to start production in 2024.

The field development will include 19 subsea wells tied back to a floating production, storage and offloading unit (FPSO).

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By GlobalData

The FPSO will have a production capacity of 220,000 barrels per day and two million barrels in storage capacity.

While the stabilised oil will be offloaded to shuttle tankers, the gas from the Bacalhau Phase 1 project will be re-injected in the reservoir.

ExxonMobil Brazil lead country manager Juan Lessmann said: “The development of the Bacalhau field is a strategic investment in our global portfolio and has the potential to bring high returns for ExxonMobil, our partners and the Brazilian people.”

As per estimates, the Bacalhau field holds up to two billion barrels of oil equivalent (Bboe) recoverable reserves.

Equinor operates the field with a 40% stake while other partners include ExxonMobil, Petrogal Brasil and Pré-sal Petróleo.