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Exploration and production to guarantee the energy needed by society

We dive into ultra-deep waters to overcome challenges and explore new ways to combine technology and sustainability in oil and gas production.
Oil platform at sea. There is an employee with safety PPE in one of the corridors.

To get to the top, we dive as deep as possible

In the search for oil, we find ways to continuously transform the Exploration and Production (E&P) market on high seas (offshore) and on land (onshore). Our focus is on the search for profitable assets in ultra-deep waters, which open up ways to diversify low carbon businesses and promote the decarbonization of operations — of our company and our suppliers.

In order to do this, we joined forces with major global energy players to create new projects and we have invested in technologies and teams with technical excellence. Our Oil exploration and extraction is, above all, a way of creating a better future for everyone. Dive in with us and find out how!

But, after all, how oil is extracted offshore?

1. Exploration: the treasure hunt

It all starts with acquiring the right to exploit an area. In Brazil, oil exploration contracts are governed by three Regulatory Frameworks: concession, production sharing and onerous assignment.

With that in hand, we begin studying the area through geological and geophysical assessments. And let's go deeper: our geoscientists analyze everything from the tectonic movements of the site and the behavior of fluids — oil, gas and water — in the reservoir, to the characteristics of the rocks in the region, to find out how and when they were formed.

Once that's done, we use advanced technology to identify the most likely places to find oil and the ideal positions for a first well.

2. Production development: we study the past to define the future

In this stage, we begin the design and contracting of oil production systems, which includes platforms, subsea systems, well drilling and more.

When evaluating natural, maritime and economic variables, new questions and definitions arise: how many wells will be drilled? What will be the best lifting system to use? What type of platform will it be installed on?

After planning and executing these details, we start the oil production.

3. Production: where the magic happens

Finally, we are ready to produce oil. In practice, production consists of extracting oil, natural gas and water from production wells with platforms developed specifically for this purpose. Afterwards, we drain the fluids to a system where they will be separated and treated for use or reinjection.

And what happens when a production system comes to an end?

We study viable solutions to act responsibly from the beginning to the end of the production cycle. In order to do this, we use a lot — A LOT! — of technology to perform the decommissioning of our platforms in a way that is safe for people and the environment.

Where does the Petrobras oil come from?

Campos Basin
Santos Basin
Other Basins

A true giant of the seas

It is because of the Campus Basin that we are currently world leaders in technology for exploration and production in deep and ultra-deep waters. The region is one of the main and most productive offshore oil and gas basins in the world since the 1970s, and we have the power to grow much more.

It was the birthplace of several innovations that revolutionized the global market and that put our name on the list of the largest and most innovative offshore oil and gas producers in the world.

Map showing the location of the Campos Basin in Brazil

We have the largest oil extraction basin in Brazil

The Santos Basin has always been ahead of its time. Our first activities in the region began in the 1970s, but the technology and knowledge of the time limited our oil production potential. The solution, then, was to pause our operations and develop our own pioneering technologies and establish partnerships.

Decades later, we returned to invest in drilling and well production in the Santos Basin. In 2009, we produced the first pre-salt oil in the Basin, which currently comprises the largest producing fields in the country, such as Tupi and Búzios.

Check out some of the main oil fields in the Santos Basin

Búzios Field

It is the largest field in the world in ultra-deep waters. It reached, in June 2023, the cumulative production of 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe), after just five years since the start of operations for the asset.

This result is due to the high productivity per well in Búzios, the evolution of knowledge accumulated in the pre-salt fields and the use of state-of-the-art technologies developed to increase the efficiency of the reservoirs. 

Mero Field

It is the third largest pre-salt oil field in the world, trailing behind only Búzios Field and Tupi Field — all located in the ultra-deep waters of the Santos Basin. Just to give you a better understanding of it, in July 2023, the Búzios and Tupi fields represented around 51% of our production.

Its reservoir is highly productive. Just eight months after starting operations in the region, our FPSO Guanabara platform reached a capacity of 180,000 barrels of oil per day.

National presence that becomes a world reference

In addition to the Campos and Santos basins, we also explore and produce oil and gas in 17 other important basins in Brazil. In total, there are more than 100 production platforms installed.

Check out our map of operations

Map showing all offshore and onshore production basins

FPSOs: the ultimate and most modern oil production system

After extraction, the oil needs to go through a process for treatment, collection and shipment to logistics terminals. With the creation of FPSOs, all of this is done at high seas.

FPSOs are floating production, storage and transfer units, and their acronym means: Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading. As they do not require the installation of oil pipeline infrastructure, because they transfer oil to tankers, FPSOs have become the most efficient and modern alternative to supply the energy demand.

We are the largest FPSO operator in the industry around the world, and our pioneering spirit only grows. We are investing in the implementation of 14 new units in the 2024-2028 period, ten of which have already been contracted.

Learn more about FPSO units

Infographic explaining what an FPSO is, and some numbers related to the operation, in addition to providing context to the operation of tankers.

Data referring to the FPSO P-58 platform, which may vary for other units.


Learn about our platforms

See the full list on pages 68 and 69

Use of FPSOs to explore pre-salt and produce cleaner oil

The pioneering spirit of the units is also focused on sustainability. A growing number of Petrobras FPSOs already use CCUS and Hisep technologies to separate CO2 from extracted oil and reinject it directly into the soil. This process considerably reduces the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere, and it also increases the productivity of oil wells.

Currently, the 21 platforms operating in the pre-salt fields are equipped with technologies to reduce carbon emissions, increasing production efficiency. In addition, pre-salt fields have lower emissions than the global average. The resilience of low-cost, low-emission oil production will secure the resources needed for a fair and sustainable energy transition.

We explore ideas to produce a more sustainable future

Brazil possesses all the necessary conditions to be a global pioneer in the fair, inclusive and sustainable energy transition. And Petrobras possesses all the necessary conditions — and the plan — to lead this journey in Brazil. Our commitment is to seek continuity in improving the carbon efficiency of our E&P activities.

Since 2009, we have already achieved a 50% reduction in the intensity of GHG emissions in E&P activities. This result comes from actions related to improvements in energy efficiency, reduction of losses and greater use of gas with reduced flare burning, in addition to improvements in accounting and inventory of emissions.

Check out some technologies that are making a difference:


Energy transition and security are priorities for the global energy industry

Our purpose is to minimize not only the environmental impacts of our activities, but also social impacts. Therefore, we use the most modern technologies in new frontier areas. After all, a digital and data-driven operation not only allows for the construction of better predictive models and greater predictability, but also increases efficiency, boosts results and reduces the carbon intensity of operations. 

We expanded our E&P areas and transformed our operations to ensure that everyone has opportunities to access energy, considering cost, distribution infrastructure and a minimum adaptation time. 

In this sense, our strategic planning sees the new E&P frontiers as fundamental activities to meet energy demand, while providing resources for a fair, safe and accessible transition to renewable sources. 

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