Employees stand during the opening ceremony of the first Royal Dutch Shell PLC gasoline station in Mexico City, Mexico, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Shell Mexico CEO Alberto De la Fuente said that Shell plans to invest $1 billion in Mexico over the next 10 years, started by opening one or two fuel stations each week for rest of 2017. Photographer: Alejandro Cegarra/Bloomberg
Shell employees. The energy major says it could produce oil at less than $40 a barrel from a proposed Brazil deepwater block. Alejandro Cegarra/Bloomberg

Shell sees Brazil oil venture at under $40 a barrel

Royal Dutch Shell will participate in Brazil's deepwater oilfield auction on Friday and is confident it can pump oil from the fields on offer for less than US$40 a barrel, a top Shell executive said.

Brazil will hold its first auction in four years for its pre-salt oilfields on Friday. The eight deepwater blocks on offer hold billions of barrels in reserves, and for the first time, Brazil will allow foreign oil firms to operate the fields in the region.

Shell believes it could pump oil from the pre-salt fields below the company's target breakeven cost of $40 per barrel, said Wael Sawan, the executive vice president for Shell's deepwater division.

The high quality of the reserves and the prolific output volume that the pre-salt wells can produce make them an attractive proposition, he said.

"I think what Brazil really has going for it is a naturally blessed subsurface that allows it to compete with the best of what's out there in the world," he said on the sidelines of an oil conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Mr Sawan declined to give details on what blocks Shell might be interested in bidding for, or on whether it would bid with partners.

Reforms in Brazil enacted under the president Michel Temer had made the reserves a more attractive proposition, he said. If Shell was unable to produce the oil at below $40 a barrel, it would not be able to take the blocks on, Mr Sarwan added.

Like other oil majors, Shell has cut costs since oil prices crashed in 2014, and has reduced participation in higher cost oilfields.

The energy major is the second-biggest oil producer in Brazil, and Petrobras' biggest partner in pre-salt production.


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Its Libra project, a block Shell won as part of a consortium in the first pre-salt auction in 2013, should produce first oil from a test well in November or December, Mr Sarwan said. That was a few months later than the July date originally slated.

Brazilian state-run oil firm Petrobras is the operator on that project, and France's Total and Chinese companies Cnooc and CNPC are also in the consortium developing the project.

Shell will take a final investment decision on its multibillion-dollar Vito project in the US Gulf of Mexico in 2018, Mr Sawan said.

"We are well advanced on the design on testing where the market is and ultimately the decision point is going to come in 2018 whether yay or nay," he said.

If Shell goes ahead with the project, Vito would become a production hub for the firm in the region, he said.

Shell would also be keen on developing energy projects in the eastern Gulf of Mexico if the administration of the US president Donald Trump ends the moratorium on drilling in the area, he said.

Mr Trump signed an executive order in April aiming to open up more offshore terrain to oil and gas leasing, prompting a review that could lift drilling bans in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico among other areas.

"We have appetite and we are interested," Mr Sawan said.


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Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

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Name: Brendalle Belaza

From: Crossing Rubber, Philippines

Arrived in the UAE: 2007

Favourite place in Abu Dhabi: NYUAD campus

Favourite photography style: Street photography

Favourite book: Harry Potter

Kill Bill Volume 1

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Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine and Michael Madsen
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Thisara Perera (captain), Dilshan Munaweera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Ashan Priyanjan, Mahela Udawatte, Dasun Shanaka, Sachith Pathirana, Vikum Sanjaya, Lahiru Gamage, Seekkuge Prasanna, Vishwa Fernando, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay and Chathuranga de Silva.


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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