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Libra: the challenges of one of the largest discoveries of the Brazilian pre-salt

The Libra field is one of the largest pre-salt oil discoveries to date in Brazil and a Total main Exploration & Production project in the country. Total E&P do Brasil is part of the consortium responsible for exploring and developing the field, with a 20% stake, alongside Petrobras (operator, with 40%), Shell (20%), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (10%) and China National Petroleum Corporation (10%). The companies are gathering their extensive industry experience to develop this giant field.

Located in the Santos Basin, approximately 200 km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Libra covers an area of 1,550 square kilometers - equivalent to the size of the city of São Paulo - and is located in ultra-deep waters, at a depth of approximately 2,000 meters. Operating in deep offshore is in the DNA of the Total group. In Libra, we can share with the consortium partners our knowledge in the segment, particularly in projects in West Africa, such as CLOV, Dalia, Girassol and Pazflor¹, to contribute to the successful development of this asset. It is a complex project that involves various technological, operational and human challenges, both in Brazil and in France.

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    The FPSO which will be used in Libra Extended Well Test was converted in Singapore and arrived in Brazil last May

Integrated work

Among the Libra innovations is the working model between the consortium partners. For the first time in Brazil, the Joint Project Team (JPT), composed of more than 200 professionals from the five partner companies, mainly from Petrobras, work in the same location. Total has seconded eight employees in the JPT. This daily side by side interaction facilitates the knowledge and experience sharing between this multicultural team. Professionals from different nationalities, such as Brazilian, French, American, British, Angolan and Chinese, work in synergy with the same goal: making Libra a very successful asset which will bring the best results to all partners.

The Libra consortium was formed in 2014 and since then it has achieved important results:

•    drilling of nine exploration wells during the appraisal campaign and completion of three wells until March 2017;
•    contracting of two drilling rigs - in activity at present;
•    contracting of the first FPSO - floating production, storage and offloading unit – that was converted in the Jurong Shipyard, in Singapore, and is now on the way to Brazil.

This FPSO will be used in the Extended Well Test (EWT) planned to start in 2017. The EWT objective is to evaluate the performance of production and the reservoir behavior in order to better determine the specifications of the definitive production system of the field. The FPSO will have the capacity to process up to 50,000 barrels of oil per day and to inject up to 4 million cubic meters of gas per day. The consortium is gearing for the award of the first full-size FPSO, called Piloto, in 2016 (production capacity of 180,000 boe/d).

State of the art technology

The challenges of Libra production development require the use of technologies already applied in other projects in the Brazilian pre-salt, many of them developed by the operator Petrobras. Drilling across the thick salt layer to reach this kind of reservoir is a great challenge to be overcome. With state-of-the-art technology solutions it is possible to drill safely across the salt layer, as well as reducing the costs and time of drilling activities and well completion.

Among the leading edge technologies applied in the pre-salt is the use of high-resolution seismic data that enables the geoscientists to "see" through the salt layer. The seismic is compared to an ultrasound, through which technicians can evaluate more precisely the depth and characteristics of the reservoir in which they plan to produce, study the production potential and define the best strategy for the development.

The combination of global experience and knowledge of the Libra project partner companies is one of its great advantages. And Total is proud to be part of this challenging project by developing one of the largest oil reservoirs in the world, and establishing a long-term commitment to Brazil.


1 – CLOV and Pazflor are deep offshore projects developed and operated by Total in Angola which showcase the company’s excellence and technology in this segment. Find out more at 

Last update on September 2016

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