Block BM-S-11

Located in Brazil, this block includes projects of great potential. Learn about the Lula and Iracema and Berbigão/Sururu/Atapu projects.

Lula and Iracema projects

Lula and Iracema are oil fields in the Brazilian pre-salt, located in the Santos basin. They are one of the world’s largest discoveries in ultra-deep waters.

The projects are located at a water depth of approximately 2,150 metres, and it’s characterised for having a uniform salt layer, which acted as a perfect oil and natural gas sealant.

Commercial production started in 2010, only four years after the discovery, with a total of ten areas planned to be developed.

  • average production
    98 kboepd average production
  • installed capacity (Galp)
    127 kbpd installed capacity (Galp)
  • development wells planned
    150 development wells planned

Development and production activities

Of the 10 areas planned to be developed, nine are already in production through FPSO units. The first six units that started production are leased, whilst the remaining, called “replicants”, are owned by the consortium.

Applying the concept of replication of a FPSO unit allows for a high standardisation of the components and optimising of the engineering works associated.

The development of block BM-S-11 will involve six replicant units, of which three are allocated to the Lula and Iracema projects, more precisely in the Lula South, Lula Extreme South and Lula North areas.

    Location Start of production Capacity
FPSO #1 Cidade de Angra dos Reis Lula Pilot October 2010 100 kbpd and 5 mm³/d
FPSO #2 Cidade de Paraty Lula Northeast June 2013 120 kbpd and 5 mm³/d
FPSO #3 Cidade de Mangaratiba Iracema South October 2014 150 kbpd and 8 mm³/d
FPSO #4 Cidade de Itaguaí Iracema North November 2015 150 kbpd and 8 mm³/d
FPSO #5 Cidade de Maricá Lula Alto February 2016 150 kbpd and 6 mm³/d
FPSO #6 Cidade de Saquarema Lula Central July 2016 150 kbpd and 6 mm³/d
FPSO #7 P-66 Lula South May 2017 150 kbpd and 6 mm³/d
FPSO #8 P-69 Lula Ext. South October 2018 150 kbpd and 6 mm³/d
FPSO #9 P-67 Lula North February 2019 150 kbpd and 6 mm³/d

In 2018, Galp and its partners have achieved important progress, including:

  • The FPSO P-66 (#7), in the Lula North area, reached plateau production in just 11 months after the start of production and before the initial forecast.
  • The FPSO P-69 (#8), the second replicant unit allocated to the project, started operations in October, in the Lula Extreme South area.
  • The FPSO P-67 (#9), the third replicant, started operations already in 2019, in the Lula North area.

The remaining FPSOs allocated to the project produced at plateau, despite some maintenance activities carried out throughout the year.

These maintenance activities are planned in order to maintain the facilities at an optimal condition and to ensure a safe, efficient and reliable performance.

Gas export infrastructure

The development projects in the Santos basin pre-salt are designed in order to allow:

  • The injection of the natural gas produced in the reservoir, in order to maintain its pressure.
  • The export of the natural gas via pipeline to onshore, namely to supply the Brazilian domestic market.

The partners of BM-S-11 have been actively involved in the development of the natural gas export infrastructure in the Santos basin. An integrated grid of subsea pipelines is planned, with all production units expected to be connected to it.

All units allocated to the Lula and Iracema projects are interconnected to the natural gas export grid, with the exception of FPSO #8 and FPSO #9, which started production in October 2018 and February 2019, respectively. These connections contributed to reduce the operational constraints of some of these units, enabling Galp to monetise part of the gas associated with oil production.

Opportunities to maximise value

The Lula and Iracema projects was among the first developments in the Brazilian pre-salt cluster, facing several technical challenges::

  • Location in ultra-deep waters.
  • The large salt layer.
  • The reservoir’s characteristics.

As a way of overcoming these difficulties, the consortium applied innovative technologies and adapted existing technologies to the project’s specificities.

The technological developments carried out in the pre-salt have been recognised and referenced, namely for the increased efficiency achieved in the appraisal and development operations, for the methodologies applied to reservoir management and for the results achieved in production optimisation.

Get to know some of the technologies used

Geophysical technology which, through sound wave reflection, enables Galp to characterise the geological formation in length, width and depth, verifying the variations of the reservoir’s constituting fluids throughout a given time interval.

The mapping of the spatial and temporal pressure variation of the fluid saturation in the reservoir will support the positioning of new producer and injector wells, thus contributing to a possible increase of the recovery factor of the reservoir.

The injection of water and natural gas, alternately and during certain periods of time, ensures the necessary operational flexibility in production activities and leads to an increase of the reservoir’s recovery factor.

When injected, the natural gas reduces residual oil and the viscosity, thus facilitating the displacement to the producer while simultaneously allowing more control and ensuring the maintenance of the saturation pressure.

Although there is no regulatory body in Brazil that requires the injection of CO2, it was decided, from the beginning of the concession, to separate and inject the CO2 from the natural gas produced, thereby reducing the operations’ ecological footprint and optimising the maintenance of the reservoir’s pressure.

Evolution of the Lula and Iracema projects


Entry into production of the seventh FPSO and first replicant unit, marking the beginning of a new stage in the Lula and Iracema projects. This platform has a capacity of 150 kbpd and is developing the Lula South area.

Start of production of the fifth and sixth units, both with a capacity to process 150 kbpd. The FPSO Cidade de Maricá started operations in February and is installed in the Lula Alto area, and the FPSO Cidade de Saquarema started production in July in the Lula Central area.

Completion of a EWT in the Lula West area, through the FPSO Cidade Angra dos Reis, which began in November.

Start of production of the fourth FPSO, Cidade de Itaguaí, installed in the Iracema North area, with a processing capacity of 150 kbpd.

Start of production of the Iracema field, through the third FPSO, Cidade de Mangaratiba, which has a processing capacity of 150 kbpd and is allocated to the Iracema South area.

Start of production of the second FPSO, Cidade de Paraty, installed in the Lula Northeast area, with a processing capacity of 120 kbpd.

Completion of the fourth EWT, which began in October in the Lula Central area. The test was performed using the FPSO Dynamic Producer.

Completion of the fifth EWT, again through the Cidade de São Vicente unit, which began in November in the Lula South area.

Completion of the third EWT through the FPSO Cidade de São Vicente, which began in March in the Iracema South area.

Completion of the second EWT, through the FPSO Cidade de São Vicente, to evaluate the Lula Northeast area. The test began in April.

Declaration of commerciality of the Lula and Iracema fields.

Start of production of the first FPSO, Cidade Angra dos Reis, installed in the Lula Pilot area, with a processing capacity of 100 kbpd.

Drilling of one more well in the Iracema area, which reinforced the estimates of oil and natural gas recoverable in the pre-salt reservoirs of that area. The well tests were completed in November and verified the high productivity of the reservoirs.

In May, the Lula and Iracema projects appraisal campaign started, with the completion of the first of five EWTs in the Lula Pilot area through the FPSO Cidade de São Vicente. The purpose of the campaign was to deepen the knowledge about the field and the productivity of the wells.

Confirmation of the discovery of the Lula field, after the completion of complementary studies to the results obtained in the first exploration well.

Discovery of the Lula field, one of the largest oil fields in Brazil.

As part of the second pre-salt bidding round, in June, the BM-S-11 block, where the Lula/Iracema field is located, was awarded to the consortium composed by Petrobras (with a 65% stake), BG Group (currently Shell, with a 25% stake) and Galp (10%).

Berbigão/Sururu/Atapu project

Berbigão/Sururu/Atapu is a field located in the Santos basin, in the Brazilian pre-salt, relatively close to the Lula/Iracema project and at a water depth of over 2,000 metres. The project is composed of three different accumulations: Berbigão, Sururu and Atapú, which extend beyond the block to the Entorno de Iara area (Transfer-of-Rights).

Exploration and appraisal activities

Through the drilling of an exploration well in 2008, it was possible to confirm the existence of hydrocarbons in the Iara area. Since then, the exploration and appraisal activities carried out by the consortium have confirmed the reservoir’s excellent potential.

The EWT carried out in the Berbigão area ​in 2014, from June to December, allowed Galp to deepen its knowledge about the field and revealed wells productivity levels similar to those obtained in the Lula/Iracema project.

The development plan for the three distinct accumulations in the Iara area, within the BM-S-11 block and wwhich extend to the Iara surroundings area, was submitted to ANP in 2015, with the consortium awaiting approval by the Brazilian regulator.

Regarding the declaration of commerciality of the project, this was granted already in 2016.

The start of production in the area of ​​Grande Iara is scheduled for 2H19, through a replicant unit, FPSO P-68, which will develop the Berbigão/Sururu area​​.

  • The EWT in Sururu SW performed with FPSO Cidade São Vicente and lasted 6 months.

  • In 2018, the drilling of Sururu-2 lead to the largest oil column in the Santos Basin pre-salt area, with 530 meters net oil pay.

  • In 2018, the consortium submitted to ANP three separate unitisation agreements for all three different accumulations.

The Entorno de ​​Iara area, to where the accumulations of Berbigão, Sururu and Atapú extend, was part of the Transfer-of-Rights Agreement between the Brazilian government and Petrobras, concluded in 2010.

Currently, the BM-S-11 consortium, Petrobras for the Transfer-of-Rights area and the Pré-sal Petróleo S.A. (PPSA), are negotiating the Production Individualisation Agreement. This will define the terms for the unitisation between the Iara and Entorno de Iara areas of the three fields to be developed, which will be submitted to ANP at a later stage.

Evolution of the Berbigão/Sururu/Atapu project


In the first quarter of 2018, the consortium initiated an EWT in the Sururu SW area, through the FPSO Cidade de S. Vincente.

ANP declared the commerciality of the three accumulations, Berbigão, Sururu and Atapú, found in the Iara area.

Acquisition of a 22.5% stake in the Iara field by the French company Total.

Submission of the development plans for three distinct accumulations in the Iara area which extend to the Iara surroundings area.

Completion of a EWT in the area of the Iara West – 2 well in December, through the FPSO Dynamic Producer, which obtained results similar to those of the other EWTs carried out in the Lula/Iracema project.

Declaration of commerciality for Iara and Iara surroundings submitted to ANP in December and confirming three distinct accumulations: Berbigão, Sururu and Atapú.

Drilling of two appraisal wells: Iara West – 2 and Iara High-Angle, the latter having been the first horizontal well.

Drilling of the Iara West appraisal well, which reconfirmed the quality of the reservoir.

Conclusion of the Iara Horst appraisal well, located 8 km from the first exploration well drilled, which confirmed the good quality of the hydrocarbons found.

Formation tests to the exploration well drilled confirmed the reservoir's potential.

Conclusion of the Iara well drilling, which proved a relevant oil discovery in the pre-salt reservoirs.

As part of the second pre-salt bidding round, in June, block BM-S-11, where the Iara field is located, was awarded to the consortium composed by Petrobras (65% stake), BG Group (currently Shell, with a 25% stake) and Galp (10%).

More information about Exploration & Production