Brazil’s Petrobras spudded its first appraisal well Thursday in the presalt offshore Libra field.
Production is scheduled to start in 2017 and is expected to plateau at 1.3 million barrels per day in 2030.
Petrobras estimates that Libra’s potential reserves range from 3.7 billion to 15 billion barrels, with a total of 7.9 billion being most probable.
The field is in the Santos Basin in the Atlantic Ocean and covers approximately 598 square miles (1,550 sq km) in 6,561 feet (2,000 m) of water.
The well’s target depth is 16.4 feet (5,850 meter) and is located 124 miles (200 km) offshore Brazil.
Petrobras is the operator of the field and holds a 40 percent stake.
Shell and Total each hold 20 percent stakes and Chinese companies CNPC and CNOOC each hold 10 percent shares.
The consortium won a 35 year production sharing contract in 2013.
Total said that developing the field could require as many as 12 floating production, storage, and offloading vessels.