Oil and gas companies Petrobras and Equinor have commenced production from the first two wells of the increased oil recovery (IOR) project at Roncador field, offshore Brazil.

The two wells are the first among a series of IOR wells to start production, and their start-sup is almost five months ahead of schedule and at half of the estimated cost.

Improvements in well design and the combined technological experience of the partners are said to have driven the 50% reduction in the costs.

The two wells are expected to add around 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to Roncador, bringing its daily production to reach around 150,000 barrels, and reduce the carbon footprint of the field.

Equinor said that the start-up supports the development of the Roncador field by increasing recovery rates, adding production, and allowing to leverage new technology.

Equinor country manager for Brazil Veronica Coelho said: “We are very proud of what the partnership between Petrobras and Equinor has achieved, delivering this project ahead of schedule and below budget.

“This milestone demonstrates the partnership’s ability to increase production and value through technology. We will continue combining our capabilities to improve recovery from Roncador and extract further value from the field.

“Petrobras will leverage its experience as one of the largest deep-water operators and pre-salt developers in the world and Equinor will draw on its technology, expertise and decades of experience in IOR on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.”

Roncador is a large-scale producing asset in Brazil, which has been producing since 1999. It has more than 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent in place, under a license lasting until 2052.

Petrobras has been the operator of the field, with 75% equity stake in it, alongside Equinor holding 25% equity stake which entered into the project in 2018.

Through the IOR project at Roncador, the partnership intends to drill 18 wells, which are expected to provide additional recoverable resources of 160 million barrels.

In addition to the planned 18 IOR wells, the partnership also aims to further improve the recovery and increase recoverable resources by a total of 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The strategic partnership between Petrobras and Equinor also includes energy efficiency and a CO2 emissions reduction programme for Roncador.